We had our 2100A overview today, which was short and to the point.  Each lab had to confer and answer a set of practice questions, and then pick a spokesperson to read and explain the answer to the class.

As everyone knows by now, the new rules are enjoined and examiners are obliged to continue examining applications tomorrow as though there were no new rules.   There was lots of groaning from people with applications on their dockets with more than 5/25, but that is to be expected.  I’m very curious to see how this whole thing turns out…


“I Protest!”

We had a repeat of the OPQA lecture, so nothing to say about that.

We also had another MPEP class, which included coverage of protests to pending applications. Hint: they aren’t very useful, since you’d have to protest before publication or allowance, whichever comes first. But we had a good presenter who always seems invested in making sure we understand the material.


“I’ve had it up to here with your ‘Rules!'”

We had initial training on the “New Rules” today, which was largely just an overview of what most people seem to already know.  We’ll have more practical training in the future, it seems.

We also got our initial eRed folder training, which is interesting.  If you’ve never been an examiner, then you might not know that examiners prepare file folders with the documents that are to be sent off to the LIE to get counted and mailed.  These folders are red in the TC, and green in the Academy.  The left side contains documents that are scanned but not mailed (internal information), and the right side contains everything that will be sent off to applicant or applicant’s representative.

Those people who are hotelling have still had to (as far as I know) assemble their folders at home and bring them in for counting during their one hour on campus.  In short, despite all the automation tools the office has supplied us with, they are still tethered to paper and the minor nuisance of hauling folders back and forth between home and work.

While that may not seem like an important point, it is one step closer to allowing examination to be done entirely through telecommuting, and opening up positions to people all over the country.  Being able to send your eRed folder to your SPE to be signed or returned with corrections means that hoteling may be an option to even those without partial signatory authority.  GS-11s may be able to work from home.  This is my own speculation, by the way, not anything I heard during training.

I have mixed feelings about this process; while I would love the freedom to be able to work from home, I have also heard others discussing the possible ramifications to examiners’ salaries if the demand for positions was to suddenly go up.

If nothing else, I like that I can now have PDFs of every document I put into the file wrapper for local storage.  Believe it or not, I think that’s even better than bookmarks.


“More MPEP Class”

I worked way too hard to come up with the lame title for the last MPEP class, only to have someone think it was hate speech.  So I’m giving up the ghost, as they say, and not trying at all this time.

We had the second part of our chapter 800, 1200, and 1300 class this morning, which consisted of going over the answers to the questions we received on Tuesday.  Yes, I skipped posting on Tuesday.  No particular reason.

What’s most interesting, to me, is seeing the discrepancy between a) what examiners actually need to know to do the job, day to day, versus what is tested and b) the level of knowledge trainees (myself included) think  they have versus the more detailed information we’re having to look at for the MPEP courses.

It’s good, if not a tad discouraging.  Our presenter for the 131 affidavit course made the point that these classes are designed to give us a framework upon which to work; when we come across something that doesn’t fit into the framework as we understand it, it means that either we have erred in our initial understanding, or that the issue is more nuanced and we must build on our earlier knowledge.  I’m paraphrasing horribly, but the point remains intact: these classes expose us to a large amount of the possible knowledge that is out there, and it is probably up to us to fill in the rest.


“Back to the Future…”

Today we had an entire class devoted to 102(e) and figuring out the 102(e) date of a reference based on where and when it was filed.  It seemed like an odd placement for the class, since we’ve already covered 102 rejections, and we’ve presumably been using them for the past couple of months.  At any rate, the point of the class was mostly to cover the trickier scenarios that arise due to foreign filings.

Our second lecture was on 131 affidavits, which are used when an applicant is trying to swear behind a reference.   For those who don’t know what I’m talking about: when examiners find prior art and use it to reject a patent application, there are several subsections of law that govern what qualifies as prior art, and how an applicant might respond to the rejection.  102(a) and 102(e) can be “sworn behind.”  That is, applicant can submit evidence that he or she actually invented the claimed invention some time prior to the date of the references the examiner supplied.  102(b) and 102(d) are statutory bars, which means that applicant cannot get around the rejection by proving he invented it earlier.

Of course, swearing behind a reference  is more complicated than that, which is why we had a class covering the basics of what should be submitted for applicant to prove his assertion.  Tomorrow: more class.


“From Love, with Russia”

Get it? Get it? You see, “From Russia with Love” was the second “James Bond” film, and today we had 700 part 2, so I switched it around to be like … yesterday’s… pretty lame title.

So, yeah.

Anyway, today we had an introduction to the chat software, which was chaos.  People calling each other on their phones using their computers, setting up chat rooms, etc.

We also had the second part of our 700 training.  Actually, it was more of a part 1B rather than part 2.  Part 2 is later.  Lots of interesting pieces, but nothing especially noteworthy.


“700: Kill to License”

Wow. That was the best title I could come up with. I really sat here and thought about it, too. I mean, I put actual effort in. And… that is the result.


Today was part one of our review of chapter 700 in the MPEP, which really has nothing to do with killing for licenses. Rather, it was a rundown of 102 and 103 issues, and we spent a little more time discussing less used 102 and 103 rejections. Chapter 700 is a lot of material to go through (much more than I have indicated here), and even dividing it into two separate sessions really doesn’t give enough time.

Our presenter gave a good effort at getting us through the dense outline in the allotted time, but it was not meant to be. If we got nothing else out of this refresher, it ought to be that: Foreign priority can only be used to overcome 102a and 102e references, not 102b! Foreign priority does not change the effective filing date! This was repeated several times.

In case anyone hasn’t seen this clever video on PatentlyO, Bar Date: