By: Gene M. Garner II, Partner
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced:
- Microsoft Teams rather than Webex is now available for virtual interactions, including Examiner interviews;
- a new Patent Public Search webpage and a new Patent Public Search tool are available. The new Patent Public Search tool is based on the Patents End-to-End search tool that USPTO Examiners use and combines the capabilities of four search tools: Public-Examiner’s Automatic Search Tool (PubEast), Public-Web-based Examiner’s Search Tool (PubWest), Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT), and Patent Application Full-Text and Image Database (AppFT). These four search tools are scheduled to be retired in September 2022. According to the USPTO, the new search tool “provides more convenient, remote, and robust full-text searching of all U.S. patents and published patent applications”;
- an on-demand training video and training webinars on how to file in DOCX can be accessed through the Patent Center. A surcharge of $400 for filing a specification, claims, and abstract in non-DOCX format is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2023;
- a First Office Action Estimator tool is available through Private PAIR or the Patent Center. The First Office Action Estimator tool provides a time estimate to receive a first Office Action on a particular U.S. patent application, and accounts for a new methodology for assigning patent applications to Examiners based on Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC).