Examiner Interview Practice During COVID-19

Examiner Interview Practice During COVID-19

Until further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. The USPTO currently uses WebEx as its video conferencing tool.

This makes telephone and/or video conferencing interview practice even more important than ever. Try to think of the Examiner as a collaborator and not an adversary. The patent attorney and patent examiner share a common goal, to issue a valid patent.

Applicant should call the examiner to request an interview. The examiner’s contact information can be found in the Conclusion section of the most recent Office action or from the Employee Locator on our web page (www.USPTO.gov). An Applicant may also complete and submit an Application Initiated Interview Request Form (PTOL-413A) to request an interview with an examiner. See MPEP 713.01 III. Calling the Examiner to request an interview establishes an initial repour.

When scheduling an interview have a copy of your agenda and/or a proposed amendment ready. The Examiner may request an agenda to facilitate a focused discussion on the issues. While an agenda is not required to grant an interview, many Examiners have found that requesting an agenda helps ensure a productive interview. Some Examiners will not even schedule an interview until receiving the agenda. While not an official requirement in order to schedule an interview, complying with the Examiner’s request is in the best interest of moving your case forward before the Examiner. However, the mere absence of an agenda is not a reason to deny an interview request. See MPEP 713.09.

And of course, be polite. While this goes without saying you would be surprised at how often this tool is not used to further prosecution and resolve issues.