Examiner interviews can play an important role in the patent prosecution process and can have a significant impact on the outcome of a patent application. Here are some ways that examiner interviews can impact patent prosecution results:

  1. Clarifying the Examiner’s position: Examiner interviews provide an opportunity for applicants to clarify the Examiner’s objections and positions, and to better understand the basis for any rejections. This can help to avoid misunderstandings and can speed up the prosecution process.
  2. Resolving issues: Examiner interviews can be an effective way to resolve any issues or objections raised by the Examiner. By discussing the matter directly with the Examiner, you can identify any potential solutions and negotiate a mutually agreeable outcome.
  3. Improving the quality of the application: Examiner interviews can help to identify any weaknesses or deficiencies in the application and can provide applicants with feedback on how to improve the application. This can lead to a stronger and more defensible patent application.
  4. Streamlining the prosecution process: Examiner interviews can help to resolve issues more quickly and can reduce the time it takes to obtain a patent. This can help to minimize costs and to bring products to market faster.

In conclusion, examiner interviews can have a significant impact on the outcome of a patent application and can help to resolve issues, improve the quality of the application, and streamline the prosecution process. It is important to prepare thoroughly for an examiner interview and to effectively communicate your arguments and positions to the Examiner.

Basics of examiner interviews

Currently, the USPTO grants one hour of nonproduction time for examiner interviews. These interviews can be conducted either in person or by telephone.

These interviews have the potential to reduce the number of office actions needed before a patent is granted. In addition, they can also help resolve disagreements about prior art. In other words, fewer office actions may mean less wasted time and money for applicants and patent professionals alike.

The patent data suggests that the impact of examiner interviews on the patent prosecution process is substantial. Researchers examined a dataset containing more than one million patent applications with at least one interview. They found that applications that had an interview had a lower number of office actions before being allowed than did applications that did not. Similarly, applications that had an interview spent less than 1.5 years in the patenting process.

In addition to reducing the number of office actions, interviews may also signal to an examiner that a certain application or invention is of significant importance. For example, a former director of the USPTO might sit in the room during an interview, which could signal that the invention is important. And, Nobel laureates and other famous scientists can also signal that an invention is significant.

Interviews are also useful for applicants because they provide an avenue to explain arguments to an examiner. In addition, they can be used to demonstrate an invention to the examiner. For example, an applicant may bring a prototype to the interview, which can help the examiner understand the invention better.

A study of all patent applications filed with an interview from 2007 to 2020 also discovered that interviews are beneficial. For applications that are ultimately rejected, the number of office actions decreased by 3.3 when an interview was held. This is particularly true for applications with low allowance art units.

According to the study, examiners spend more than two hours per year on interviews in 2019. This is an increase from 2008, when examiners spent about sixteen hours per year. The average number of office actions required before a patent is granted is also lower.


Signal to the examiner that the invention is of particular importance

Applicants should be aware of a variety of tactics to signal to the examiner that their invention is of particular importance. Bringing in an expert can be a good way to demonstrate to an examiner how your invention works. It can also help to dispel confusion by offering to show them the invention itself.

Another tactic is to make your patent application as streamlined as possible. This can be achieved by using less office actions, which saves time. For example, if your application contains a single claim, you might want to use a continuation filing to extend the validity of your claims. You can also demonstrate your invention to an examiner during an interview, allowing you to demonstrate to an examiner how your invention enables the user to perform the claimed function. Alternatively, you may respond to an examiner’s report with a modification or elimination of rejected claims.

There is a lot to be said for a good patent examination. A good examiner can tell you about your invention and the citations in prior art that support it. These citations may be complementary to the invention under examination or they may be invented around the invention. The examination of these citations can be beneficial in that they allow the examiner to understand the invention better.

A recent study examined nearly 1 million patent applications with at least one interview. The findings showed that interviews can be a good indicator of the strength of your application. The study also showed that a well-timed interview can be a useful tool in shedding light on your invention and helping to reduce the misunderstandings that often plague patent examiners. This is particularly true in the case of high value patents.

The best advice is to keep your patent application compact, as well as to bring in an expert to explain your invention. The benefits of these actions include fewer office actions, which can be valuable time for you to invest in the patent prosecution process. These actions also signal to the examiner that your invention is important, which is an important consideration in patent examination.