Request for Submission of Topics for USPTO Quality Case Studies
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is initiating a new pilot program as part of its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative. Currently, the USPTO performs reviews of applications on target issues for internal quality purposes, referred to as ``case studies.'' The USPTO now seeks to leverage the experience of its stakeholders to expand the use of case studies to additional quality- related topics. Beginning immediately, stakeholders are invited to submit patent quality-related topics that they believe should be the subject of a case study. After considering the submitted topics, the USPTO will identify which topics will be the subject of upcoming case studies. The USPTO anticipates that the results of these case studies will help it to understand better the quality of its work products and, where appropriate, to take action to remediate quality issues or to formulate best practices to further enhance quality. Such public engagement is sought not only to broaden the scope of quality issues currently studied by the USPTO, but also to continue stakeholder involvement in the quality review process and to maintain a transparent quality enhancement process.
USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program
This rulemaking is required by a Public Law enacted on December 16, 2014. This law requires the United States Patent and Trademark Office (``Office'' or ``USPTO'') Director to establish regulations and procedures for application to and participation in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program. This law removed the ``pilot'' status of the USPTO's existing law school clinic certification program. The program allows students enrolled in a participating law school's clinic to practice patent and trademark law before the USPTO under the direct supervision of a faculty clinic supervisor by drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent or trademark applications, or both, on a pro bono basis for clients who qualify for assistance from the law school's clinic. In this way, these student practitioners gain valuable experience drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent and trademark applications that would otherwise be unavailable to students while in law school. The program also facilitates the provision of pro bono services to trademark and patent applicants who lack the financial resources to pay for legal representation. The proposed rules incorporate the requirements and procedures developed and implemented during the pilot phase of the program.