[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 98 (Wednesday, May 21, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29172-29173]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11741]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

 Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No.: PTO-P-2013-0011]


Elimination of Patents Search Templates

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or 
Office) is eliminating the Patents Search Templates from the USPTO Web 
site. In 2006, the USPTO implemented Patents Search Templates, which 
were created to better identify the field of search, search tools, and 
search methodologies that should be considered each time an invention 
related to a particular USPC is searched. There are over 1200 search 
templates covering more than 600 USPC classes and subclasses. 
Historically, usage of the search templates by the public has been 
extremely low. Additionally, various aspects of the search templates, 
such as references to

[[Page 29173]]

commercial database vendor information, are in need of updating. 
Further, in January 2013, the USPTO launched a new classification 
system, the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, that is 
based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system. The CPC, 
a joint patent classification system developed by the USPTO and the 
European Patent Office (EPO), incorporates the best classification 
practices of both the U.S. and European systems. Since CPC is a 
detailed, collaborative, and dynamic system that will enable patent 
examiners and the public to efficiently conduct thorough patent 
searches, the search templates will become obsolete.

DATES: Effective Date: May 21, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pinchus M. Laufer, Senior Legal 
Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy 
Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, by telephone at 571-272-
7726; or by mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments--Patents, 
Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The search templates were created to better 
identify the field of search, search tools, and search methodologies 
which should be considered each time an invention related to a 
particular USPC is searched. The USPTO published a notice requesting 
comments on the proposed elimination of the search templates on October 
30, 2013. See Request for Comments on Proposed Elimination of Patents 
Search Templates, 210 FR 64925 (October 30, 2013). In response, the 
Office received only one comment; it asserted the usefulness of the 
search templates in illustrating the scope of patent examination 
searches.
    The search templates, however, are currently out-of-date since they 
include, for example, outdated commercial database vendor information 
that could be misleading for external stakeholders. Updating the search 
templates would require the editing of over 1200 pages and would not be 
an efficient use of USPTO resources, given that the templates are 
rarely used by the public.
    Also, the search templates are indexed under USPC, which is being 
phased out in favor of CPC. CPC is an internationally compatible 
classification system that was launched in January 2013. CPC is a 
detailed, dynamic classification system that is based on IPC and 
enables patent examiners and the public to efficiently conduct thorough 
patent searches. As a result of the implementation of CPC, the search 
templates will become obsolete. CPC was jointly developed with the EPO 
and incorporates the best classification practices of both the U.S. and 
European systems. The USPTO and the EPO also believe that CPC will 
enhance efficiency and support work sharing initiatives with a view to 
reducing unnecessary duplication of work, thereby leading to enhanced 
patent quality and timelier examination of pending applications. 
Initial feedback from stakeholders confirms that the transition to CPC 
is a positive development. More information about CPC can be found at 
http://www.cooperativepatentclassification.org.
    Due to the factors discussed above, the Office is removing the 
search templates from the USPTO Web site and any references to the 
search templates in USPTO documentation (for example, in the 
Accelerated Examination FAQs) will be updated to reflect the 
elimination of the search templates.

    Dated: May 15, 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. 2014-11741 Filed 5-20-14; 8:45 am]
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