How to Be an Effective Advocate When Responding To Examiners
You’re a patent prosecutor. You’ve just received an office action. The examiner has rejected your claims. You think the examiner got it wrong. On the technical issues, it looks like the examiner is off base, pointing out elements in the prior art that aren’t really there, and finding motivation based upon the flimsiest bases. Also troubling is that the examiner has based some of the rejections upon rules or precedent that you think are incorrect, both on their face and as applied to your claims. So, it’s time to prepare an office action response. Hopefully this will change the examiner’s mind and will allow your client to receive a patent. Your response may include some preliminary matters, perhaps some claim amendments and recitation of the prosecution history, and the status of various claims. Then you come to the arguments. You want to argue with the examiner’s decisions, to be sure, but that does not mean that you want to be disagreeable. Your job as an advocate is to help the examiner understand your client’s position. There are numerous techniques you can apply in order to argue your case in a more effective manner. Effective advocacy is not limited to legal documents filed in court or an administrative appeal. Even when you are arguing to an examiner, your arguments can be made more effective by the manner in which those arguments are presented.