CALL US: 206.533.3854
CALL US  206.533.3854

Patent Office Calls For Clearer Patents

Aims to enhance quality
Make patents clearer

Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, announced on her blog the critical importance of the USPTO issuing patents that are both correct and clear.
She said that the Patent Office’s traditional focus has been on correctness, but that it is now increasing its focus on clarity.
According to Lee, “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. Through correctness and clarity, such patents better enable potential users of patented technologies to make informed decisions on how to avoid infringement, whether to seek a license, and/or when to settle or litigate a patent dispute. Patent owners also benefit from having clear notice on the boundaries of their patent rights.”

The USPTO sought input from the public on the issue of patent clarity, and received over 1,200 responses.
The highlights of the Office’s Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative include:

Clarity of the Record Pilot: “Examiners will include as part of the prosecution record important claim constructions and more detailed reasons for the allowance and rejection of claims.”

Clarity of the Record Training: The Patent Office will add training for patent examiners on “the benefits and importance of making the record clear and how to achieve greater clarity.” Recently, examiners received training on “functional claiming and putting statements in the record when the examiner invokes 35 U.S.C. 112(f), which interprets claims under the broadest reasonable interpretation standard.”

Transforming the Review Data Capture Process: The Office will ensure that reviews of an examiner’s work product follow the same processes. All reviewers at various levels will now use the same online “Master review form,” which will be shared with the public at some point.

Lee expects the amount of data that the Patent Office collects to increase from three to five times, and says that this will allow the Office to use “big data analytic techniques to identify more detailed trends.” Updates on the program can be found on the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative page.
The “clarity” initiative may lead to more patent applications being initially rejected for lack of clarity.

Related Articles

When is a patented product sold “within the United States”?

When is a product
“sold in the United States”?
It’s complicated.

Read More

Do AI content generators violate underlying IP rights?

IP owners sue
AI art generators.
What counts as “fair use”?

Read More

Patent Wars Come to Crypto

Brings lawsuit against Circle
In patent dispute

Read More

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive Patent Poetry—a monthly roundup of key IP issues in our signature haiku format. Four articles (only 68 syllables); zero hassle.



Artificial Intelligence

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Computer Technology & Software

Consumer Electronics

Electrical Devices



Mechanical Devices

Consumer & Retail Products

Hardware & Tools

Toys & Games



Chemical Compounds

Digital Health

Healthcare Products



Books & Publications

Brand Creation

Luxury Products

Photography & Video

Product Design