Image from uspto.gov
Director of the USPTO, Michelle K. Lee recently released a statement discussing the future of the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative in 2016. We look forward to the continuing improvements to the United States patent system, and wish to draw attention to key points from Ms. Lee’s statements:
Patents of the highest quality can help to stimulate and promote efficient licensing, research and development, and future innovation without resorting to needless high-cost court proceedings. …such patents better enable potential users of patented technologies to make informed decisions on how to avoid infringement…Patent owners also benefit from having clear notice on the boundaries of their patent rights. After successfully reducing the backlog of unexamined patent applications, our agency is redoubling its focus on quality.
It is in the best interest of all parties, save perhaps patent trolls, to reduce the level of costly patent disputes resulting from unclear or low-quality patents. It seems promising that 2016 will bring more concrete suggestions and guidelines on how to best pursue this goal.
Ms. Lee goes on to highlight two new initiatives for the EPQI:
Clarity of the Record Pilot
Aims to better examiner and applicant practices for enhancing Clarity of the Record. It will require examiners to provide “definitions of key terms, important claim constructions, and more detailed reasons for the allowance and rejection of claims.”
Transforming Review Data Capture Process
Ms. Lee revealed that the USPTO plans to vastly increase the amount of data they gather from review processes, stating:
“We are working to unify the review process for all reviewers and systematically record the same review results through an online form, called the “master review form,” which we intend to share with the public. “
The goal for the additional data is to grant the ability to use big data analytic techniques to gather more detailed trends and metrics across a wider variety of sectors. It will also allow for pinpointing examiner error and the reasoning behind various examiner actions.
We look forward to seeing positive results from the USPTO’s EPQI and will continue updating with the most current developments.