When I began practicing patent law, my conceptual model of the patent examination process was an objective technical comparison of claimed inventions with prior art. Notably, I understood this process to be straightforward, legally and technically accurate, and – most of all – consistent and predictable. For a particular claim, the patent system should identify the same references and produce the same answer, irrespective of the particular art unit, examiner, or circumstances of the application. The internal mechanics of the USPTO, of examiners’ day-to-day lives, should be largely irrelevant to the outcome of an application.
7+ years of patent prosecution have radically changed my understanding of the patent process.
While I am an avid reader of other sources of intellectual property discussion, these sources are heavily oriented toward patent litigation and licensing. I feel that the actual nuts-and-bolts process of securing patent protection is not adequately discussed. Accordingly, the purpose of this weblog is to serve as a source of information about the organization of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the examining corps, and the experience of interacting with patent examiners to work through the patent procurement process.
I welcome the participation and viewpoints of other members of the patent community. If you would like to contribute, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.