[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 53 (Wednesday, March 19, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15319-15321]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05996]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

United States Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-P-2014-0013]


Request for Comments and Notice of Roundtable Event on the Use of 
Crowdsourcing and Third-Party Preissuance Submissions To Identify 
Relevant Prior Art

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) is 
hosting a roundtable event to solicit public opinions regarding the use 
of crowdsourcing and third-party preissuance submissions to identify 
relevant prior art and enhance the quality of examination as well as 
the quality of issued patents. Members of the public are invited to 
participate. The roundtable will provide a forum for an informal 
discussion of the topics identified in this notice. Written comments in 
response to these topics also are requested.

DATES: Event: The roundtable event will be held on April 10, 2014, 
beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and ending at 5:00 
p.m. EDT.
    Registration: Registration to attend the roundtable in person or 
via webcast is required by April 4, 2014. Additionally, members of the 
public who wish to participate in the roundtable as a speaker must do 
so by request in writing no later than March 27, 2014. See the ``Event 
Registration Information'' section of this notice for additional 
details on how to register.
    Comments: Any member of the public, whether attending the 
roundtable or not, may submit written comments on any of the topics 
identified in part III of the Supplementary Information section, below, 
for consideration by the Office. Written comments must be received on 
or before April 25, 2014, to ensure consideration. Persons submitting 
written comments should note that the Office will not provide a 
response because this notice is not a notice of proposed rulemaking. 
Written comments should be sent by electronic mail addressed to 
[email protected]. Comments also may be submitted 
by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments--Patents, Commissioner 
for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked to the 
attention of Nicole Dretar Haines. Although comments may be submitted 
by postal mail, the Office prefers to receive comments by electronic 
mail.
    Comments will be available for public inspection via the Office's 
Internet Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/index.jsp, and at the Office of the Commissioner for Patents, located 
in Madison East, Tenth Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, 
upon request. Because comments will be available for public inspection, 
information that is not desired to be made public, such as an address 
or phone number, should not be included in the comments.

[[Page 15320]]


ADDRESSES: The roundtable event will be held at the Office, Madison 
Auditorium South, Concourse Level, Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, 
Alexandria, VA 22314.
    Event Registration Information: Registration is required by April 
4, 2014, to attend the roundtable in person or via Webcast. 
Additionally, members of the public who wish to participate in the 
roundtable as a speaker must do so by request in writing no later than 
March 27, 2014.
    To register or request to present as a speaker, please send an 
email message to [email protected] and provide the 
following information: (1) Your name, title, and if applicable, company 
or organization, address, phone number, and email address; (2) whether 
you wish to attend in person or via webcast; and (3) if you wish to 
make an oral presentation at the roundtable, which of the topics 
identified in part III of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section, below, 
will be addressed and the approximate desired length of your 
presentation. Each attendee, even if from the same organization, must 
register separately.
    Due to time constraints, the Office may not be able to accommodate 
all persons who wish to make a presentation. However, the Office will 
attempt to accommodate as many persons who wish to make a presentation 
as possible within the time constraints. After reviewing the list of 
speakers and the information regarding the presentations provided in 
the registration, the Office will contact each speaker prior to the 
event with the amount of time available and the approximate time that 
the speaker's presentation is scheduled to begin. The amount of time 
available for each presentation may be limited to ensure that all 
persons selected to speak will have a meaningful chance to do so. 
Speakers who opt to employ slides as part of their presentation must 
send final electronic copies of the slides in Microsoft PowerPoint to 
[email protected] by April 4, 2014, so that the 
slides can be displayed at the roundtable. Additionally, the Office 
will provide an opportunity for persons in the audience not previously 
selected as speakers to speak at the roundtable without a formal 
presentation.
    The Office plans to make the roundtable event available via 
webcast. Webcast information will be available on the Office's Internet 
Web site before the roundtable event at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/index.jsp.
    If special accommodations due to a disability are needed, please 
inform the contact person(s) identified below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
regarding registration and speaker presentations should be directed to 
the attention of Jack Harvey, Director, Technology Center 2800, by 
telephone at 571-272-8004, or by email to [email protected]. 
Requests for additional information regarding the topics for written 
comments and discussion at the roundtable event should be directed to 
Nicole Dretar Haines, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal 
Administration, by telephone at 571-272-7717, or by email to 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. Purpose of Notice: This notice announces a roundtable event to 
solicit public input concerning the topics identified in part III, 
below, relating to the use of crowdsourcing and third-party preissuance 
submissions to identify relevant prior art and enhance the quality of 
examination as well as the quality of issued patents. Specifically, the 
Office is seeking comments on the potential uses of crowdsourcing 
during patent examination, as well as ways for increasing the quality 
and volume of third-party preissuance submissions. The public is 
invited to provide comments on these topics and to identify future 
topics for discussion.
    II. Background: Over the past year, the Office has solicited ideas 
from the software community through the Software Partnership to enhance 
the quality of software-related patents. In response, the public has 
proposed crowdsourcing as a technique to expand the prior art available 
to examiners. Further, crowdsourcing prior art was identified as a 
means to strengthen patent quality in the executive actions announced 
by the White House on February 20, 2014. While crowdsourcing was 
suggested in the context of the Software Partnership, the Office is 
exploring strategies to use crowdsourcing to obtain relevant prior art 
and enhance the quality of examination across all technology areas. 
Information on the Software Partnership may be found at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/software_partnership.jsp and 
information on the White House executive actions is available at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/executive_actions.jsp.
    Crowdsourcing has the potential to help examiners in certain 
technology areas, such as software, where information that resides 
within the technical community is often not readily available to 
examiners. Existing crowdsourcing Web sites have made use of third-
party preissuance submissions to submit prior art to examiners. The 
preissuance submissions by third parties provision of the America 
Invents Act permits third parties to submit relevant prior art 
publications to patent examiners with a concise description of 
relevance. See Changes To Implement the Preissuance Submissions by 
Third Parties Provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, 77 FR 
42150 (July 17, 2012). The Office is seeking ways to improve the 
quality and increase the volume of third-party submissions, and 
utilizing crowdsourcing may be one promising avenue for achieving these 
goals. Aside from increasing the quality and quantity of third-party 
submissions, the Office is exploring other ways that crowdsourcing may 
help examiners identify relevant prior art during examination and 
contribute to the quality of issued patents.
    III. Topics for Written Comments and Discussion at the Roundtable 
Event: The Office seeks comments on the following topics regarding the 
current third-party submission process and ways the Office can use 
crowdsourcing to improve the quality of examination:
    1. How can the Office leverage the collective knowledge available 
via crowdsourcing to provide an examiner with relevant prior art?
    2. What suggestions do you have for the Office to encourage more 
third-party submissions from the scientific and technical community via 
crowdsourcing activities?
    3. Aside from encouraging more third-party submissions, what are 
other ways the Office can leverage crowdsourcing to get relevant 
information from experts in the scientific and technical community to 
the examiner?
    4. How can the Office encourage more third-party participation 
while ensuring that no protest or other form of pre-issuance opposition 
to the grant of a patent on an application is initiated after 
publication of the application?
    5. What, if anything, is preventing you from submitting prior art 
as part of a third-party submission?
    6. What other ideas do you have to ensure examiners have the most 
relevant prior art in front of them during examination?
    The Office also seeks comments on any additional topics, not listed 
above, that might serve as a basis for future discussions regarding the 
current third-party submission process and ways the Office can use 
crowdsourcing to improve the quality of examination.


[[Page 15321]]


    Dated: March 12, 2014.
Michelle K. Lee,
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy 
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2014-05996 Filed 3-18-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-16-P