Robert Morris discusses issues relating to USPTO releasing APIs (IPWatchdog)

June 24, 2016

Robert W. Morris of the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group was recently quoted in popular intellectual property blog IPWatchdog. In the article, “What Will Happen When the USPTO Releases its APIs to the Wild?” Morris discussed how the interpretation of patent law can vary from one examiner to another.

“This is rarely the fault of the overworked examiner, who is asked to sift an enormous database, comparing findings to complex, changing patent rules,” Morris was quoted. “A lot of patent law today is a gray area that leads to inconsistency within patent prosecution.”

In place of 8,300 examiners performing searches, the USPTO API disclosure suggests automation, which could bring more consistency to patent prosecution. The goal to improve the process appears a starting point with one crucial part: the search.

“Lee’s plan for automating searches is outsourcing: by launching APIs and a developer’s hub to allow anyone with ‘the most basic programming experience’ to explore USPTO databases and share their datasets,” Morris says. “USPTO is trying to fix its problems by allowing the public to create solutions. While the idea may have merit, it seems that since the public has been suffering through an inconsistent patent prosecution process, it shouldn’t be the public’s job to fix it.”

“Time will tell whether this move will be a benefit in clarifying patent searches,” Morris says.

The full article is available on the IPWatchdog website. (Access to content on third-party websites may require subscription.)

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