Top of Notices Top of Notices   (264)  December 26, 2023 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE Print This Notice 1517 CNOG  1048 

PE2E, Software, Computer-Implemented Referenced Items (263, 264, 265, 266, 267)
(264)         New PE2E Search Tool Using AI Search Features


   The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is in
the process of developing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to add
to the Patents End-to-End (PE2E) Search tool. After each new AI capability
is fully tested and approved, the USPTO will add the capability to this
search tool and make it available for patent examiners to use while
conducting prior art searches during the patent examination process. When
searches are performed using this tool, a notation that a search using AI
capabilities was conducted will be documented in the search record.


   Before issuing an Office action for an application, a patent examiner
conducts a thorough investigation of the prior art to enable a complete
examination of the application, including determining whether the
invention, as claimed, is patentable. See 37 CFR 1.104(a)(1). The examiner
uses one or more search tools such as PE2E Search to conduct the prior art
search. The USPTO is continuing to develop PE2E Search, which includes new
features available to patent examiners.

   PE2E Search is a modern, web-based platform with a focus on performance
and adaptability. This tool provides features similar to legacy USPTO
patent search tools, but allows for additional search functionalities. For
example, unlike legacy systems, PE2E Search currently provides access to
more than 69 million foreign patent documents with full machine
translations in English.

   In addition to providing access to the expanded foreign patent document
collection, the USPTO is in the process of prototyping various AI search
capabilities for integration with PE2E Search. A beta version of the AI
search capabilities was released to a small subset of examiners in
March 2020¹ for assessment and refinement. Additional AI search
capabilities may be incorporated into PE2E Search and will be tested and
approved before they are released to all examiners.²

AI Search Features

   Currently, PE2E Search is being developed to support AI search
capabilities that will assist examiners in searching. The "More Like This"
feature is the first AI search capability that will be released to
examiners in PE2E Search. "More Like This" uses AI algorithms to generate a
list of domestic or foreign patent documents that are similar to a specific
patent document. To use this feature, an examiner selects a domestic or
foreign patent document generated during a prior search as an anchor
document (Anchor); the "More Like This" feature will return a list of
patent documents that are most similar to the Anchor. The AI algorithm
determines whether a patent document is similar to the Anchor based on the
full text and metadata of a patent document. The AI algorithm is trained
from public and proprietary measures of similarity extracted from worldwide
examiner citations, classifications, applications, and human-rated
similarity. "More Like This" may yield additional patent documents that
were not included in the search results from the examiner's prior search.

   In addition to "More Like This," the USPTO is in the process of
developing and testing other AI search capabilities for future integration
with PE2E Search. For example, AI features that generate suggestions for
prior art references, refine document sorting, add insight into AI
reasoning, and provide additional Cooperative Patent Classification
suggestions are currently being tested in a beta version by a small subset
of examiners. As the development of other AI search capabilities continues,
additional AI-based features may be added to PE2E Search.

Top of Notices Top of Notices   (264)  December 26, 2023 US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE 1517 CNOG  1049 

Search Recordation

   As the USPTO advances the AI search capabilities from beta versions to
integrated elements within PE2E Search for the examining corps, the Office
will ensure that search history recordation is consistent with the Manual
of Patent Examining Procedure 719.05. An examiner should use professional
judgment in determining when the use of the AI search capabilities is

   When an examiner uses the "More Like This" feature of the PE2E Search
tool as part of a search for an application, the examiner's PE2E Search
history will indicate that AI search capabilities were used so the public
receives clear notice that aspects of the examiner's search were performed
using AI. Any additional documents yielded from the use of the "More Like
This" feature will also be identified in the PE2E Search history for that

Contact Information

   Inquiries and feedback concerning this notice may be submitted to, or by mail addressed to: Commissioner for Patents,
Box Comments-Patents, Post Office Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, and
marked to the attention of Jonathan Horner.

December 20, 2021                                          ANDREW HIRSHFELD
              Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of
                                     Commerce for Intellectual Property and
                  Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

   ¹A limited group of examiners searched approximately 700 applications in
parallel using the beta version of the AI search capabilities while also
performing searches for the preparation of Office actions using USPTO
patent search tools available at the time. The prototyping of additional AI
search capabilities for PE2E Search is ongoing.

   ²As new AI features are developed for PE2E Search, they are tested by a
limited group of examiners. Data gathered during that testing is used to
improve the quality and performance of these AI features, which use PE2E
Search as a platform from which to operate. Public availability of the AI
features depends, in part, on the availability of PE2E Search. Currently,
the USPTO plans to make some search functionalities in PE2E Search
available to the public in fiscal year 2022. Due to contract and cost
issues, the AI search tool will not be accessible by the public. However,
after a period of initial testing, during which the USPTO welcomes public
feedback, the agency will revisit the possibility of public access. The
USPTO plans to provide updates on the PE2E Search tool, its evolving AI
capabilities, and public accessibility as new information becomes

   ³The recordation of searches performed using the "More Like This"
feature has been automated, so documents yielded from the use of this
feature will be recorded in the search history generated by PE2E Search.
When the "More Like This" feature is used, the examiner's PE2E Search
history will indicate the Anchor the examiner selected and the specific
documents the "More Like This" feature provided as being most similar to
the Anchor.

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