PTO Should Release SAWS Numbers Given Impact on Examination Process

By Kate Gaudry
February 8, 2015

We have been investigating the secret Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS) at the USPTO for months. Last fall, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, I received a collection of memos from the USPTO. The memos included approximately 100 SAWS-eligibility criteria. If an examiner determined that a criterion applied to a particular application, he is to notify his supervisor to consider it for the SAWS program, and the supervisor is to validate the determination propose the SAWS designation to superiors. Once an application is in SAWS, a sizable group of people (seemingly up to 8) must approve examiner-drafted notices of allowances before such notices are actually issued. (A more complete summary of the memos can be found here.

The SAWS-eligibility criteria are many, broad and vague. For example, select identified items include:

  • Applications dealing with inventions, which, if issued, would potentially generate unwanted media coverage (i.e., news, blogs, forums).
  • Applications disclosing seemingly frivolous or silly subject matter.
  • Applications with claims of broad or domineering scope and/or which have old effective filing dates.
  • Applications with claims of pioneering scope.
  • Processes and apparatuses involving Education (class 434).
  • Applications reciting processes the PTO employees or IP attorneys
  • Applications claiming the prevention or curing of diseases which were previously considered impossible to prevent or cure, such as … Alzheimer’s disease, common cold, dementia, mental retardation , [or] HIV infection.
  • Internet-enabled systems (e.g., podcasting).

Seemingly, a large portion of patent applications could be subjected to SAWS. We, and others, requested identifications of SAWS application numbers, but the USPTO has repeatedly denied such requests, asserting that the data is privileged and relates to internal operations. Recently, the USPTO did grant one request that at least identified high-level statistics pertaining to the program. An initial report identifying some of these statistics was published in Law360. Additional data follows.

 

Few SAWS Applications Begs the Question: How are they Selected?

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.15.51 PM

Table 1

Table 1 shows the number of applications in each technology center evaluated under the SAWS program. (Technology center 3600 was divided into business-method “BM” art units and other art units.) Very few applications are entered into the SAWS program – approximately 1 in 2500. This is in accordance with Brian Stanton’s article recounting his experience with the program and data that appeared on a new USPTO webpage that was posted during pendency of the above-referenced data request. As shown, SAWS classifications are most prevalent in Technology Center 1600.

 Given the very broad and diverse SAWS-eligibility list, it was surprising that so few applications were evaluated under SAWS. Thus, there appears to be more to how applications are selected for SAWS designation than what was released previously by the PTO. Perhaps this additional information is not memorialized. Brian Stanton’s article contends that the SAWS program is designed to have over-inclusive eligibility specifications and to evaluate “high profile or complex legal, ethical, or controversial subject matter”. However, as it stands, the SAWS-eligibility list seems to be so broad that it is close to indicating that all applications are eligible for SAWS review and such that it provides very little information or guidance to applicants as to whether an application will be subjected to this enhanced review. Further, the list has only been published via the author’s FOIA request and still does not appear to be published by the USPTO.

 

SAWS Applications are Less Likely to be Patented

As reported in our Law360 article, SAWS applications filed in 2006 are more likely to be pending and less likely to be patented as compared to other applications. The new graphs below break apart status data by technology center. Nearly all applications filed in 2006 have reached a final status (FIG. 1A), while a sizable portion (on average, 28%) of SAWS applications have not. Specifically, only 72% of SAWS applications have reached final dispositions, as compared to 98% of all applications.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.17.16 PM

Figure 1

On average, 32% of SAWS applications are patented. Should the entire set of pending SAWS applications eventually be patented, the percentage of SAWS applications with patented status would be 61%. Coincidentally, the percentage of all applications filed in 2006 that are currently patented is 61%. If instead, a portion of the pending SAWS applications go abandoned and/or the 2% of the pending “all” applications issue, the patenting percentage of SAWS applications will be lower than for the larger application set.

Currently, on average, 33% of SAWS applications are patented, indicating that they complied with the statutory patent requirements. Should the entire set of the 28% of SAWS applications that have pending status eventually be patented, the percentage of SAWS applications with patented status would be 61%. Coincidentally, the percentage of all applications filed in 2006 that are currently patented is 61%. If instead, at least a portion of the pending SAWS applications go abandoned and/or the 2% of the pending “all” applications issue, the patenting percentage of SAWS applications will be lower than for the larger application set.

 

SAWS Patents: Increased Office Actions and Delay

As noted herein, the SAWS eligibility list is so inclusive that members of the public cannot realistically evaluate what types of applications are being evaluated under the program. Perhaps they are “silly” patent applications and/or applications that do not comply with the patent statutes. Or perhaps they include applications that disclose a new drug for curing for Alzheimer’s. We do not have sufficient data to evaluate how acceptable it is that the patenting rate of SAWS applications will almost certainly be lower than for other applications.

However, a sizable portion of SAWS applications have already issued as patents, indicating that the USPTO eventually determined that these applications related to technology that was worthy of a patent. Therefore, prosecution statistics for the SAWS patents were compared to those for other patents. As shown in FIG. 2A, the average number of office actions issued per SAWS patents is substantially higher than for other applications. Overall, the average was 2.3 office actions per patent for all patents with a 2006 filing date and 4.3 for SAWS patents with filing dates in the same year. Additionally, RCE filings were more common in the SAWS patent set, with an average of 1.2 being filed per SAWS patent, and only 0.48 filed for the general application set.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.18.19 PM

Figure 2

This increased office action and RCE prevalence has been estimated to correspond to a near doubling of prosecution costs for applicants (an estimated additional $7000 per SAWS patent, on average).

As reported in one of the author’s articles in Patently-O, the total pendency of SAWS patents is also substantially longer than other applications. At least some of this delay is likely due to the increased Office-Action counts. Overall, the average time from filing to issuance is 6.0 years for SAWS patents and 3.5 years for all patents filed in 2006. This difference will likely become more pronounced assuming that at least some of the pending SAWS applications will eventually issue.

 

SAWS Issues – Rulemaking, Due Process

It has been contended, by the USPTO and others, that the SAWS program is a reasonable, quality-control measure. The author currently does not take issue with whether the program is reasonable. At present, sufficient information or data has been provided to assess whether the performed enhanced reviews of SAWS applications were appropriate, as those applications have not been identified.

What is an issue is that the agency is not transparent about the program. Up until December 2014, the USPTO did not seem to have any reference to SAWS on their website or in the MPEP. Subsequent to the author’s first publication summarizing the received memos, a SAWS webpage appeared on the USPTO website, though it merely includes goals of the program and select statistics and does not detail the actual workings of the program.

Our data seems to indicate that the SAWS program is altering the patent-examination process for applicants subjected to the program. It appears to reduce patenting potential, and – for those applications that eventually issue – they must survive more office actions and longer pendency. This changed landscape would likely change the way an applicant prosecutes an application. The applicant may choose, for example, to abandon the case early on or enter more drastic amendments in view of the tougher road ahead.

Further, the structure of SAWS indicates that multiple people can, in essence, veto an examiner’s proposed allowance. At present, not only are these additional people not identified to the applicant, but the applicant is unaware that the additional people are involved. Anecdotal accounts describe instances where conversations with examiners become nearly futile when an application is a SAWS application. An examiner can indicate that an amendment will place an application in condition for allowance, but such allowance can then be immediately thwarted by the additional reviewers. In the meantime, the applicant may nonetheless continue to amend the claims (potentially creating prosecution estoppel), spend time interviewing an examiner and creating prosecution history.

These impacts of SAWS indicate that there are several issues with SAWS. It is not a minor agency-internal policy that has no impact on applicants. Accordingly, the agency should have gone through official rulemaking (e.g., notice-and-comment) processes and arrived at codified rules defining how the program will be implemented. Currently, the program structure does not give any clear indication as to which applications will be designated as SAWS applications and does not provide applicants with notice of such designations. Both of these issues violate procedural due process. Had the agency complied with rulemaking requirements, commenters would have likely identified such issues and the USPTO may have been able to address them.

Adam Charnes, a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend specializing in constitutional and complex business litigation, says that SAWS “violates several basic administrative law and constitutional norms.” He continues that applicants with applications “placed in the SAWS program without notice; having been unreasonably delayed by inclusion in the program; or having been denied because of the stricter standards of the SAWS program” could consider legal action. However, because SAWS designations are not disclosed, applicants may not even know that the facts support a challenge. He concludes that, at present, “ if the PTO continues to refuse to disclose the workings of the program indicate that a lawsuit or FOIA appeal may be the only way to achieve transparency and reform.”

 

PTO Should Release SAWS Application Numbers

The author joins others in calling on the USPTO to start addressing the SAWS issues by increasing its transparency. Specifically, SAWS application numbers should be released and applicants should be informed of subsequent SAWS designations. The author can think of no justifiable reason why the USPTO would be so reluctant to disclose this information. Only upon release of this data can the public evaluate whether this program is an unbiased, reasonable program, and only then can applicants make informed decisions about how to prosecute their patent applications.

The Author

Kate Gaudry

Kate Gaudry Kate Gaudry, Ph.D., is a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. She focuses her practice on patent prosecution, with an emphasis on software, computer systems, and quantitative biology technologies. Dr. Gaudry also routinely performs statistical analysis of clients’ patent portfolios to identify effective prosecution strategies. Dr. Gaudry also regularly empirically evaluates programs and performance of the United States Patent and Trademark Office so as to provide her clients with prosecution recommendations and to advocate for compact and fair examination. For more information, or to contact Dr. Gaudry, please visit her firm profile page.

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 18 Comments comments.

  1. Mark Annett February 9, 2015 8:14 am

    Just curious, if your examiner accidentally let slip that an application you are processing has been recommended for SAWS what should you do differently, aside form notifying the client.

  2. Anon February 9, 2015 10:00 am

    For starters, Mark, file an immediate FOIA request seeking maximum information. Remind the Office – in writing – of its being bound by the Administrative Procedures Act of its own requirement to abide by 37 CR 1.2, and request an accounting (this may be denied, but one should still pursue the path) of any and all actions – and inactions based on things that are outside of the written record.

    Basically, politely – and firmly – request full sunshine and remind the Office that they are bound by the APA and their own rules (no matter what “secret” processes have been cooked up behind closed doors).

  3. Mark Annett February 9, 2015 11:12 am

    Thanks for your reply but I am wondering if that will really help me.

    I am thinking that my best course of action is simply to try and understand the reason the app may have been suggested for placement into SAWS and try and address the concerns within my response to the office action and additionally simply recognize that I am dealing with a much larger group of reviewers than normal.

    At this point, the examiner has been exceptionally responsive and I would not want to make it an adversarial relationship unnecessarily.

  4. Anon February 9, 2015 12:41 pm

    Good points Mark, and admirable as to your dealing with the examiner.

    However,…

    If as you might imagine, your examiner is no longer the one calling the shots, then sticking with a strategy that pleases someone that will not (or cannot) advance your client’s interests seems like a non-optimal solution.

    I am sure that you can explain this verbally to the examiner, stressing that you are pushing for this information because of your duty to your client and not as any affront to the examiner’s efforts.

    If you are correct and SAWS has taken control, then any reasonable examiner will not be put off by your actions. In fact, by pushing this up the ladder as it were, you may be helping your examiner save face from his having to make bogus rejections on something that he may fell very well should be passed to issue.

  5. Simon Elliott February 9, 2015 1:29 pm

    The PTO argues that SAWS does not change the substantive basis of examination. If so, why are the cases spending so much time in prosecution? If you have supervisors involved, I would hope that the greater experience would lead to shorter, not longer, examination.

    The PTO also argues SAWS is no big deal because it only affects a small number of applications. Sorry, but that is a terrible argument. If SAWS is unfair, it does not become fair because it is only applied to a small number of people: if anything, that fact tends to suggest that the program is not being neutrally applied.

    If the PTO has good reasons to apply SAWS, then it should be public when it does so. Its really not a close call.

  6. Mark Annett February 9, 2015 3:14 pm

    It might simply be that the prosecution takes longer because they are more complex and nuanced than normal application.

    It would be interesting to see how the SAWS cases compare to cases that lead to appeal. Maybe the heightened scrutiny means that these cases are less likely to go to appeal. So by that metric these applications may have a shorter prosecution than other complex applications.

    I also don’t think we should necessarily assume there is something nefarious going on with regard to an application just because it has been deemed to need extra scrutiny.

    Yes, I do appreciate knowing that an application I am prosecuting may be in SAWS because it helps knowing that I have a wider audience. But other than that my fundamental task doesn’t change.

  7. Anon February 9, 2015 4:15 pm

    Mark,

    Perhaps you have not yet read my earlier response – but your post at 6 is not quite accurate.

    While you might be correct that the sum total goal has not changed, your fundamental task only does not change if – and only if – it is absolutely true that your task of dealing with the examiner alone does not change.

    Clearly, if your dealing needs to change because the examiner admits to being out of control of the fate of the application, then the fundamental nature of your task has changed. In other words, the line that you hear from the Office, that there is no difference in examination is not plausible.

    If there were no difference, then there would be no use for the program, let alone the program shrouded in secrecy.

    There is quite a difference between “sum total” and “fundamental.”

    Further, if the program was a paradigm of better examination for complex applications (and note that the limited information about falling into SAWS is not at all limited to complex applications), then such would be even more reason NOT to have the program have such secrecy.

    Given both the information that is coming out – and the fact that the Office is still not forthcoming, I would say that the better path here is to lean towards suspicion of something nefarious going on.

    I still wonder to myself, and now put to you, of what possible benefit is there with the secrecy?

  8. Mark Annett February 9, 2015 4:51 pm

    Anon wrote, “I still wonder to myself, and now put to you, of what possible benefit is there with the secrecy?”

    Let me start by saying that I don’t believe the program should be secret. And you are asking me to speculate on the USPTO’s motives to which I have no knowledge about.

    With that said, if you take them at their word that the goal is to improve prosecution and they wanted to implement a separate system for heightened scrutiny without having to worry about people appealing the decision that there application had been out into it. Then that might be a good reason to keep it secret.

    If they did not keep it secret, they would spend so much time litigating that an application had been put into that status “unfairly” that it would end up being an astronomical expenditure of resources.

    On the semantics issue Anon raises of fundamental vs sum total, I will concede the semantics argument to you. However, I do want to point out that I said the applications “are more complex and nuanced than normal application” and I think the “nuanced” is a very apt word to encompass many of the other categories.

  9. Anon February 9, 2015 6:16 pm

    I am doing more than merely asking you as to the motives of the USPTO for having and maintaining a secret program.

    I am asking you as a legal professional (I take it that you are the patent agent Mark Annett) to evaluate all that you know and have heard of this program, the various comments offered and to think about and possibly come up with a rational for having such a secret program. To do this, you do not in fact have to speculate as to any motives of any actual operative of the Office. You can come up with something yourself.

    For instance, your notion of “cost of appeals.” Of course, I would then dismiss this notion as reminding you that any such cost cannot be an issue, given that a legitimate non-secret program can charge – and does charge applicants, so there is to be no cost as to the expenditure of resources limitation (and if you have been paying attention to the willingness of logging PTA, you would see that “time” is not a driver). You should note too that the entire PTO budget – including money routinely siphoned away – is user payed. Last I checked, there is no “cost control” mantra evidence for Office actions (secret or non-secret).

    Your statement of “If you take them at their word” is also an immediate red flag. The very existence of a secret begs that one cannot “take them at their word.” Why then would you do so? They refuse to give you “all of their words.” Have you missed the part (still) that I told you at post 2 regarding 37 CFR 1.2?

    Further, there is no such word from the Office. In fact, as I have mentioned, the opposite is their “word.” They claim that the examination is exactly the same. Per the Office, there is NO such decision for heightened scrutiny TO appeal. Mind you, “heightened scrutiny” becomes meaningless unless – in fact – the examination is not the same without the scrutiny. But that contradicts the word from the Office.

    Do you see this?

    Thank you for letting me win the “semantics argument.” I will posit that it is more than just semantics though. There is a very real change – one that is not semantics – when you must deal with an unknown and thus unresponsive entity. You also appear not to have recognized in my prior response the position that the examiner with whom you are working with appears to no longer be the actual decision maker. This too is not a semantic point.

    Lastly, you lean again to “Complex” and add “nuanced,” yet neglect the point that I provided that the released information from the Office (their word) indicates that these reasons are just not the only reasons, nor are they necessarily even required reasons. In fact, I would call your bending of the word “nuances” a form of semantics. However, I award you no victory with that play, as even for arguments sake we accept your semantics, you win no point moving forward. Your proposed benefit is rent asunder, and the (should be apparent) drawbacks are not alleviated whatsoever.

  10. Mark Annett February 9, 2015 8:37 pm

    Anon, yes, I am a patent agent.

    You ask me to “to evaluate all that [I] know and have heard of this program”.

    Correct me if I am wrong but the only patent that you are actually aware of being in the SAWS program is the one bravely shared by Devon Rolf. His experience was not favorable and it did smack of potential nefarious action.

    I stand in a unique position to judge as I now have potentially the only other known SAWS case. So, at this point, you have to take my word for it that there does not appear to be any nefarious action on the part of the examiners or the others involved in placing it in SAWS. If that is what has been done.

    With the failure to disclose by the USPTO, you have no other choice to use your sample of one, which was based upon 2nd hand experience. I at least have my own experience as well as that of someone else. And, I admittedly value my own experience over the second hand experience of someone else.

    I again want to say that I do not think SAWS should be a secretive program.

    I am sorry that you didn’t like my suggested reason as to why they might want to keep it secret. Frankly, I find it a little absurd the implication that the USPTO does not try to contain costs where it can. But I see you overall point. So, I would appreciate knowing your reasoning why they might want to keep it a secret.

    As a legal professional, hopefully, you can come up with something other than the fact that the USPTO wants to take nefarious action against a patent.

    I am surprised you appear to find it such a bizarre occurrence that the decision regarding a patent has been taken out of the hands of the examiner. Have you never heard an examiner say they are going to run something by the supervisor or technical specialist.

    Have you never tried to prosecute a reissue application? In the case of a reissue application, after the examiner is done with it, it goes to a reissue specialist, which has the final word on whether or not something issues. What is the difference there? Would it be helpful if I dealt with the reissue specialist directly instead of the examiner. Of course, but that is not the way it works.

    Regardless of who else is involved in the process the examiner is the initial gate keeper. They will likely always be involved in making the initial recommendations SAWS, or otherwise.

    You seem to assume the worst with respect to the USPTO and maybe that is based upon your personal experience. I happen to find the people I interact with at the USPTO to be a group of dedicated individuals who care about their job and want to do it well. I feel sorry for you if that has not been your experience.

    Again, I want to state that I am not in favor of a secret program.

    I am only stating that I believe that it makes sense to me that the USPTO may want to have heighten approval of particular applications. And, based on my personal experience, I do not see anything nefarious going on with respect to the potential classification of my particular application into SAWS.

  11. Simon Elliott February 9, 2015 9:39 pm

    The fact that SAWS cases take longer COULD represent that the cases are more complex. But we won’t know without making the system public and transparent. The burden should be on the PTO to show that its system is fair and neutrally applied, not for an injured party to allege harm, especially when it cannot determine if it falls under the SAWS system.

    I assume no nefarious intent by the USPTO, but the continued secrecy does it no favors

  12. Mark Annett February 10, 2015 9:15 am

    BTW, if you haven’t clicked through to Brian Stanton’s article, “An Ex-insider’s Perspective of the USPTO Special Applications Warning System (SAWS)”

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014/12/22/ex-insiders-perspective-of-saws/id=52821/

    I would greatly encourage people to do so. It provides an insightful look at the SAWS program.

  13. Anon13 February 11, 2015 3:36 pm

    Mark,
    Do you know why your client’s application was flagged? I found a copy of an old SAWS memo here which issued in March 2006. http://hho4free.com/documents/patent_screening_uspto%20memo.pdf
    Is your application potentially embarrassing to the Office (i.e. a large company might have commercial products on the market which infringe)?

  14. Mark Annett February 11, 2015 5:15 pm

    Anon, to answer your question, I was not given a reason why my application was potentially flagged. I of course have my suspicions as to why and I have develop a strategy based upon my suspicions but, unfortunately, as much as I would like to, I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics. The only thing I will say is that I do not believe there was any thing nefarious going on.

  15. Anon13 February 14, 2015 6:32 pm

    Mark,
    If your application is designated SAWS because it is important, and had it issued, might have caused embarrassment to the patent office, what actions could you possibly take that might remove the SAWS flag? If your client is in for this reason, he is in for the long haul, and probably well over $100k. The “embarrassment” criteria, once posted by Brian Stanton as “never embarrass the Office”, is essentially encapsulated in “we will issue the patent if we can get comfortable with it”. Maybe your client has applied for an important patent which is likely infringed by a company which is large enough, that it would be embarrassing to issue a patent to your small client. (Your client might sue the large company and that would likely be reported in the newspapers). One way out is to narrow the claims to the point that there are no (large) infringers. Another way out might be to sell the pending application to a household brand, and let them prosecute the patent. Either of these may prove to be less embarrassing enough.

  16. Joachim Martillo February 15, 2015 8:43 am

    Interesting that the CIA seems to be more forthcoming than the USPTO.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2015/02/cia-needs-just-years-to-release-data-not-202603.html

  17. Paul Maher March 12, 2015 2:42 am

    This from LAW360. Your article did not mention paradigm shifting advances in energy productiion.

    Paul
    coldfusionnow.org

    Secret PTO Program Subjects Apps To Heightened Scrutiny

    Law360, New York (December 03, 2014, 10:35 AM ET) —
    Kate Gaudry %>
    Kate Gaudry
    Unbeknownst to virtually all applicants for patents, the United States Patent and Trademark Office operates a secret program called the Sensitive Application Warning System. Although SAWS has been mentioned in scattered anecdotal accounts from patent attorneys and examiners and a single leaked memo from 2006, this program is not based on any law nor is it reflected in the PTO’s published rules for its operation. The few previous references to this program indicate that if the PTO enters a patent application into the program, the application could face many additional rounds of scrutiny — and therefore substantial delays — during examination.
    Despite the secretive nature of the SAWS program, substantial information about the programs — though not complete details — was obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests. In short, the subject-matter criteria used by the PTO to select applications for the SAWS program are vague, over-inclusive and seemingly present a conflict of interest. For applications entered into the program, examiner-proposed notices of allowances are reviewed by up to six or seven additional PTO professionals, any of whom could presumably veto the proposed allowance.

    Worse yet, applicants are not informed when their applications are classified as SAWS applications or the identifies of all of the additional people involved in the decision-making as to whether an application will be allowed to issue as a patent. As many examiners also refuse to answer the direct question as to whether an application is in the SAWS program, the applicant is left with little recourse to respond to the enhanced scrutiny. The PTO refused to respond to a FOIA request for the identity of all applications subjected to the SAWS program.

    What Makes an Application a SAWS Application?

    The PTO’s FOIA response revealed that there is a corps-wide list of identifying potential SAWS subject matters and additional lists specific to technology centers (TCs). The corps-wide list directly follows and the TC-specific lists are in the appendix below.

    Corps-Wide Potential SAWS Subject Matter

    Applications dealing with inventions, which, if issued, would potentially generate unwanted media coverage (i.e., news, blogs, forums).
    Applications disclosing seemingly frivolous or silly subject matter — paying special attention to the title, abstract and cover drawing.
    Applications with claims of broad or domineering scope and/or which have old effective filing dates (submarines).
    Applications with claims of pioneering scope.
    Applications that have objectionable or derogatory subject matter in the specification and/or drawing(s) and/or claims.
    Applications claiming inventions, which would endanger individuals, the environment, the security of our nation, or public safety.
    Applications claiming inventions that include explicit recitations of race, ethnicity, origin, or other prescribed populations.
    Applications claiming a method/apparatus to take a human life (e.g., suicide machine).
    Applications claiming a method or apparatus for abortion.
    Applications claiming a motor or power plant, which is self-sustaining (perpetual motion machine, etc.) or which appears to violate the laws of physics (e.g., antigravity, faster than the speed of light, etc.).
    Applications claiming the prevention or curing of diseases, which were previously considered impossible to prevent or cure.
    Applications of human cloning.
    Commissioner-ordered reexams, except those ordered because or prior art timely filed, but not considered, before the patent issued, or for prior art submitted under 37 CFR 1.501.
    Reexamination and Reissue cases in which:

    Litigation involves the Supreme Court,
    Litigation where the judgment on a patent was either favorable or unfavorable and a high dollar amount was awarded to either party, or
    Technology/Companies that are recognized by the public or have been reported in the media or there is a high probability that the media would report on it in the future based on any action taken by the PTO.

  18. Paul Maher March 12, 2015 2:52 am

    This is in response to Anon 13,

    Embarrass the USPTO? Far better for the country for you to be embarrassed than for new technologies that promise new life to the world be sent into a ditch. You should be embarrassed now for standing in the way of the development of the development of any number of energy producing /effects and systems. Shame on the USPTO and your pitiful attitude.

    If someone files an application for a new patent and it is bogus, what damage is done if it is issued. If it doesn’t produce results it will be done for and with.
    The audacity of your organization is simply put over the top.