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Archived updates for Friday, October 28, 2005

USPTO Issuing Search Templates

As discussed at yesterday's Partnering in Patents XII program at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Office is preparing to publish "search templates" for each of the approximate 600 classified areas of science and technology found in the USPTO Manual of Classification.

These search templates will define the search field and resource areas of general subject matter, classes/subclasses, patent documents (both US and foreign) and non-patent luterature ("NPL") that an examiner should consider each time a patent application is examined in that classification area. Additionally, the search template will indicate what search tools or methodologies should be considered when performing the search.

The templates are based upon input from patent examiners and other searchers at the USPTO and represent an attempt to capture their institutional knowledge of what are the most relevant prior art searches for determining the patentability of subject matter in the area of technology. In an effort to ensure that each art area has an appropriately structured field of search and search strategy, the Office will begin publishing each of the search templates at at The website includes means for submitting comments and the identification of the other resources that could be added to the described field of search and search methodologies. The website also includes criteria by which suggestions for additional resources to be included in the search template will be evaluated.

The Office will respond to any comment or suggestion in writing. Through this mechanism, the Office will incorporate public comments and will make adjustments on how to refine each search template. This will not be a one-time event. As technologies evolve, so too will the search templates; and the public will have an on-going opportunity to comment on how to improve them. This process may require several iterations before the contents of these search templates become more settled and complete.

Through this new tool, the Office anticipates patent examiners will be able to focus their searches and will be able to locate the most pertinent prior art in their field when evaluating an application for obviousness or anticipation. It will give more structure and a better standard to measure the completeness of any search. It is also believed the public will benefit because these search templates can be used by applicants for their own pre-examination searches prior to the filing of a U.S. patent application or the submission of a petition to make special based on MPEP § 708.02, subsection VIII. – special examining procedure for certain new applications - accelerated examination. In addition, the USPTO plans to use these search templates for a pilot program to outsource U.S. patent searches for PCT applications.

The creation and use of these search templates are not intended to limit the professional discretion that any searcher, including patent examiners at the USPTO, employs in performing prior art searches. Rather these search templates are intended to capture the institutional knowledge and expertise of these searchers for the benefit of others who may desire or be required to perform prior art searches in any given technology area. A search is not expected to include a search of all of the listed resources, to use all of the listed tools, or employ all of the listed search techniques in every prior art search to be performed. Rather by relying upon the information contained in the search templates and the expertise of the individual performing the search, these materials will assist the individual in finding the most relevant prior art for the search being conducted in the art area.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...



April 07, 2009 4:07 AM  

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