The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has extended the Expanded Collaborative Search Pilot (CSP) program, originally running from November 2017 through October 2020, an additional two years. The Expanded CSP program, conducted with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), builds on the success of the initial CSP program, taking advantage of improvements in patent quality and examination pendency. With the Expanded CSP, applicants may request that multiple partnering intellectual property (IP) offices exchange search results for their counterpart applications prior to formulating and issuing their office actions. Each designated partner IP office independently conducts a prior art search for its corresponding counterpart application. The search results are then exchanged between the designated partner IP office(s), including the USPTO, before any IP office issues an office action. With this exchange of search results, the examiners in all designated partner IP offices will have a more comprehensive set of prior art references to consider when making initial patentability determinations. The Expanded CSP allows the USPTO to study the impact on examination processes of exchanges of search results between the USPTO and multiple partner IP offices prior to formulating and issuing office actions.
Under the Expanded CSP, the USPTO and partner IP offices will each continue to accept requests to participate beyond November 1, 2020, until October 31, 2022. Each IP office will not grant more than 400 requests per year per partner office. The offices may extend the pilot program (with or without modification) if they deem it appropriate. Each office reserves the right to withdraw from the program at any time.
The Federal Register notice is published here.