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Full transparency May 11, 2009

Posted by Brian Schar in Patent prosecution.
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It’s no surprise that the infingers’ lobby and the anti-patent FTC would be interested in all applicant/examiner conferences being recorded for the record.  One of the advantages of the interview is that it allows a frank discussion between the parties, without generating estoppel, that can result in claim amendments that are allowable, thereby advancing the process.  Without the ability to speak candidly in an interview, the utility of the interview decreases dramatically, meaning that applicants would have to go to appeal more frequently.

Having said that, I’d support recording all interviews wholeheartedly – as long as all internal USPTO communications about each application are similarly recorded for the record.  The interactions between the Examiners and the patent quality folks, and between the Examiners and the SPEs, should equally be part of the record if the goal is a complete record that sets forth what both the applicants and the Office consider to be the claimed invention.   I doubt that’s a horse trade that would actually happen, though.

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