Examination is the crucial element of the patent application process. The cornerstone of the procedure is the aptly named Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, a very large publication that describes in excruciating detail how the patent examination process works and establishes how examiners are supposed to review patent applications. Due to the amount of detail and the way it is used, the Manual is also one of the basic tools of a patent attorney or agent.

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What Does the MPEP Include?

The MPEP is a massive publication, dating back all the way to 1920 when it was published by the Patent and Trademark Office Society. Of course, it is regularly updated and expanded to cover new issues that have arisen and changes in procedure. The current version is the 8th edition, revision 9, from August 2012. It comprises 24 chapters, comprehensively regulating the patent examination process, from the application requirements, through the actual examination itself, to appeals and protests. Due to the size of patent law, the Manual is permitted during patent bar examinations, though only in its electronic form.

How Can It Be Obtained?

The Manual is available online from the United States Patent and Trademark Office free of charge, in both PDF and HTML format. The MPEP in the HTML format is highly convenient, as it can be browsed and searched using standard search engines. The value of the manual cannot be overstated, especially if you plan to apply for a patent. If you have any questions about the process of patenting an invention, design, or the hideous mutant plant you created, chances are, the Manual can answer it - albeit in highly technical language.

While the manual is extensive, finding the information you need may not be easy for a novice. Fortunately, you don’t need to go through the MPEP on your own. You can always ask a lawyer your patent questions and get the information and advice you need.

Get started Create Your Provisional Patent Application Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Create Your Provisional Patent Application Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.