Friday, November 23, 2007

PCT applications

On Nov. 20, patenthawk had a post titled International Feel which gave some scary background on the way PCT searches are done at the USPTO.

Patenthawk quoted an attorney on outsourced art searches:

This was the first inkling I had that these reports are being done by untrained nonexaminers who may have no clue what the law regarding novelty and obviousness/inventive step is (insert gratuitous comment about recent USPTO examiner performance HERE). These reports are the basis on which the examiners in many non-US countries rely (and form the basis for the stance of the US examiner who handles the case from that point forward).

Of examination:

Although this all looks depressingly bad for the state of US examined PCT applications, there is a silver lining. The quality of examination of PCT applications in house at the USPTO might be even worse. Although examiners are not paid per application, examiner production and therefore performance is directly tied to how quickly work is completed. Written opinions and search reports for PCT applications are rarely reviewed by supervisors and are only reviewed by quality assurance specialists for form not substance. Therefore, PCTs have always been considered easy counts for examiners. Last Friday of the quarter? Need to bump your production? Fly through a few PCTs. Furthermore, many PCT applications are examined concurrently with their US equivalents. This is known as the 2-for-1 special.


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