A letter got sent today to the Director of Technology Center 2900 of the USPTO (Design Patents), Karen Young. The letter is signed by forty-eight design applicants and practitioners. You can see the letter here and you can track it in the Postal Service here. It should get delivered to the Director on Friday, October 15, 2021. The letter has four “asks”:
- When an Examiner gripes in an Office Action that a figure or a detail of a figure in a design patent application is blurry or unclear, can the Examiner please state up front in the Office Action whether the Examiner took that figure from IFW or from SCORE? This will save the applicant or practitioner from having to phone up the Examiner to ask, and if the Examiner failed to look at the SCORE drawings, this will save a step in the process.
- Just because the design Examiner can blow up a figure by 200% or 400% to find some real or imagined flaw in a vector drawing does not mean the Examiner should. The practice of viewing figures at high magnification should only be pursued to the limited extent that it would actually make a difference in the figure as it would appear at normal scale in the actual issued patent.
- When an Examiner pastes images into an Office Action to help show what is wrong with some figure in the design application, the images have gray scale in them. This means the images get blurred when the Office Action gets loaded into IFW. This means the applicant or practitioner does not actually get to see the image the same way it looked when the Examiner pasted it into the Office Action. We ask that such Office Actions be stored in SCORE, not in IFW, so that the Office Actions do not get blurred.
- The letter asks that the Issue Branch be directed always to use images from SCORE, not from IFW, when printing the issued design patent.
Here is how the letter begins:
The signers, personally or through their firms or corporations, have between them prosecuted more than twenty thousand United States design patents to issuance. The signers, personally or through their firms or corporations, have between them paid more than $26 million in fees to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the past ten years.
It will be interesting to see what we hear back from Director Young in response to the letter.