MPEP Section 904.02(c), Internet Searching
This document contains one section of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (the "M.P.E.P."), Eighth Edition, Fifth Revision (August 2006). This page was last updated in July 2007. You may return to the section index to find a particular section. Alternatively, you may search the MPEP use the search box that appears on the bottom of every page of BitLaw--be sure to restrict your search to the MPEP in the pop-up list.
904.02(c) Internet Searching [R-3]
The Office published a Patent Internet Usage Policy to establish a policy for use of the Internet by the Patent Examining Corps and other organizations within the USPTO. See Internet Usage Policy, 64 F.R. 33056 (June 21, 1999). The Articles of the Patent Internet Usage Policy pertinent to Internet searching and documenting search strategies are reproduced below. >Note that a reissue application, a reexamination proceeding, and an application that has been published pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 122(b) need not be kept in confidence; therefore, the restriction on the search queries used when performing an Internet search referenced in Article 9 below would not apply to these applications and proceedings. USPTO personnel may use the Internet to search, browse, or retrieve information relating to the claimed invention(s) of a published application, a reissue application, or a reexamination proceeding.< See MPEP § 707.05(e) for information pertaining to the citation of electronic documents and MPEP § 502.03 for information pertaining to communications via electronic mail.
INTERNET SEARCHING (ARTICLE 9)
The ultimate responsibility for formulating individual search strategies lies with individual Patent Examiners, Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) staff, and anyone charged with protecting proprietary application data. When the Internet is used to search, browse, or retrieve information relating to a patent application which has not been published, other than a reissue application or reexamination proceeding, Patent Organization users MUST restrict search queries to the general state of the art unless the Office has established a secure link over the Internet with a specific vendor to maintain the confidentiality of the unpublished patent application. Non-secure Internet search, browse, or retrieval activities that could disclose proprietary information directed to a specific application which has not been published, other than a reissue application or reexamination proceeding, are NOT permitted.
This policy also applies to use of the Internet as a communications medium for connecting to commercial database providers.
DOCUMENTING SEARCH STRATEGIES (AR- TICLE 10)
All Patent Organization users of the Internet for patent application searches shall document their search strategies in accordance with established practices and procedures as set forth in MPEP § 719.05 II.(F).