Request for Comments on Proposed Elimination of Patents Search Templates
The USPTO is proposing to eliminate the Patents Search Templates from the USPTO Web site. In 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented Patents Search Templates, which are United States Patent Classification (USPC) indexed search templates that 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. 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 commercial database vendor information, are in need of updating. Further, the USPTO launched a new classification system, the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, in January 2013 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. Before eliminating the search templates from the USPTO Web site, the Office is requesting comments from the public.