Patent Office Launches Online Forum to Discuss the MPEP

By Gene Quinn
January 13, 2011

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has recently launched an online forum titled Discuss the MPEP, which as the title suggests will allow interested individuals to discuss sections of the MPEP, otherwise known as the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.  The goal of this discussion forum is to provide the editors of the MPEP with information useful when considering re-writing the MPEP.  The goal for versions of the MPEP to come is to create a document hat will enable both  practitioners and examiners to find information quickly, get accurate and complete guidance, and ensure that all patent applications comply with the laws and regulations governing the patent system.

The Patent Office is asking everyone to help spread the word and to encourage people to participate in this community forum.  The forum says: “Spread the Word! E-mail, tweet, or post… to your networks, and invite them to get involved.”

The Terms and Conditions page explains the purpose of the discussion forum as follows:

We invite you to join the conversation to help improve the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP).

We created this Web site in order to engage people in a discussion around how to improve this important document. The ultimate objective is to create an MPEP that will enable practitioners and examiners to find information quickly, get accurate and complete guidance, and ensure that all patent applications comply with the laws and regulations governing the patent system.

To foster interaction, visitors to this Web site may submit ideas, submit comments about ideas, and vote for the ideas they think are the most important.

Our editorial staff will periodically be posting proposed new material for you to respond to, and will in some cases will post responses to some of the ideas and comments.

There are few true “terms” of participation, but the USPTO does ask all participants to agree to the following terms:

1. To ensure a productive discussion, those who elect to participate agree to post only ideas or comments directly related to the MPEP and its contents.

2. Those who elect to participate agree to conduct themselves in a civil manner. This includes refraining from submitting obscene or threatening language; discriminatory language (including hate speech) based on race, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability; sexually explicit material; and other material that would violate the law if published here.

3. Those who elect to participate agree to refrain from submitting ideas or comments that promote services or products (not including non-commercial links that are relevant to this Web site); and to refrain from including private phone numbers, email addresses, or postal addresses or embedding other media (not including hyperlinks to other media).

At the moment you can visit the Discuss the MPEP forum and submit ideas relating to MPEP Chapters 500 and 600, but the goal seems to be to ultimately allow for discussion on all of the MPEP sections.  As of the writing of this article there are 22 ideas posted, with 19 comments, 38 votes and 35 users registered.  The idea with respect to voting is to allow the community to work together to percolate the best ideas to the top, making sure that those with writing/editing authority for the MPEP see those suggestions that the community deems the most important.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 1 Comment comments.

  1. Arizona Patent Attorney January 14, 2011 12:54 pm

    I noticed this just yesterday as I was looking something up online. You can access the forum directly from the applicable MPEP sections – each chapter, section, and subsection has a “Discuss This Section” link that takes you straight to the forum. Very interesting feature.