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Examiner interviews are the not-so-secret weapons of patent prosecution. If conducted strategically, an interview with your patent examiner can potentially be the driving force that leads to a successful registration.
An examiner interview can provide several benefits, including:
Examiners are only human; misunderstandings in the written communication between the examiner and the applicant can often be clarified with a face-to-face discussion. Your conversation may unearth information you otherwise would not have obtained. For example, your examiner may have misunderstood your claim as you’ve written them. A verbal explanation may provide the necessary clarity that the examiner was missing.
On average, each Office Action response costs about $3,000. An interview with the examiner can potentially reduce the number of refusals issued against your application, saving you money and cutting down the prosecution time.
Once a first refusal has been issued, patent applicants are entitled to an interview with their examiner. There are three ways to submit a request for an interview:
(1) Fill out a PTOL-413A form
(2) The USPTO’s online Automated Interview Request (AIR) system
(3) Call your examiner directly to request an interview
Simply attending the interview isn’t enough; preparation is key. Some ways to prepare for your interview are:
Come prepared. Examiner interviews are typically 30 minutes long - make the most of your time by being as concise and efficient as possible. Prepare an itinerary for your discussion, including all questions and arguments you have for the examiner.
An interview allows you to directly request the examiner’s recommendations for improving the claims in your application. For example, making note of the claim language the examiner uses is a strategic way to improve your arguments; they are not likely to reject their own language, so take advantage of this opportunity to receive their direct input.
Patent applications are tedious and complex. It can take the average person months to learn the ins and outs of patent prosecution. Applying on your own is always a risk, as one small mistake can lead to drastic consequences regarding cost and time delays.
Lloyd & Mousilli has dedicated intellectual property attorneys who are experienced in the patent application process. We can assist with the preparation and filing of your application, as well as offer strategic guidance on your overall intellectual property protection.