Issue 181 | April 7, 2004
USPTO Business Method News

Pre-Action Interviews Available May 3, 2004
from http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/

A pilot program to provide for an optional pre-first Office action interview for applications assigned to Art Units 3624 and 3628 (Class 705/ Subclasses 35-45-the finance and banking art) will be initiated on May 3, 2004. The pre-first Office action interview will be granted if a request is filed with (1) a grantable petition to make special filed under MPEP § 708.02, and (2) unless already included in the petition to make special, a general statement of the state of the art and an identification of no more than 3 references believed to be the "closest" prior art along with an explanation of how the broadest claim distinguishes over the prior art.

If the request for a pre-first Office action interview is granted and resources permitting, the examiner, after a preliminary review of the application, will call the applicant no later than 60 days following the grant of the request but before a first Office action is written and mailed, to set up the pre-first Office action interview (a) the attorney may request either a telephonic or personal interview, and (b) the scope of the interview will include: (i) a discussion of the features of the claimed subject matter that make the invention patentable; (ii) a discussion to assist the examiner in developing a better understanding of the invention; and (iii) a discussion to establish the state of the art at the time of the invention.

The pilot program will last six months, after which an evaluation of the pilot will be conducted. A notice will be published in the Official Gazette and will be posted on the USPTO website after the evaluation to indicate whether the Office will make the pilot program permanent.

Concurrently to run with this pilot, the Office requests comments from the public on the granting of pre-first Office action interviews under the conditions of (a) filing a petition to make special under MPEP § 708.02; (b) a letter requesting an interview; and (c) a discussion of the state of the art and an identification of no more than three (3) references believed to be the "closest" prior art along with an explanation as to how the broadest claim distinguishes over the submitted prior art. The time period for comments will end concurrently with the end of the pilot.

Business Methods Partnership Meeting April 24, 2004
from http://www.uspto.gov/web/menu/pbmethod/bmpm.htm

Also, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold its Spring 2004 business methods customer partnership meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2004, from 1:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M. at the USPTO Patents Theatre, Crystal Park 2, Suite 200, 2121 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. The meeting will be hosted by the director and managers of the Business Methods workgroup and members of the public are invited to attend subject to space limitations. The meeting is an opportunity for an informal discussion on topics such as quality initiatives, how the second pair of eyes operates, determination of statutory subject matter, and other topics specific to business methods. Additionally, industry leaders will discuss the importance of business methods patents from their perspective. While public attendees will have the opportunity to provide their individual input, group consensus advice will not be sought.

Requests for attendance at the partnership meeting should be submitted to the attention of James Trammell via facsimile at (703) 746-5534 or Joseph Thomas via facsimile at (703) 746-5897, or by electronic mail through the Internet to james.trammell@uspto.gov or joseph.thomas@uspto.gov. Requests for attendance must include the attendee's name, affiliation, title, mailing address, and telephone number. Facsimile number and Internet mail address, if available, should also be provided. Requests for attendance must be received by April 9, 2004.

For more of the latest news on business method patents contact Bill Heinze (bill.heinze@tkhr.com), at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley LLP in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.

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