This is a continuation of a previous entry – Patent Filing.
When May came and went with no news about my patent application, my attorney did some digging and found out that my case had been transferred to another examiner. It turns out that the USPTO isn’t immune to high turnover. With a new examiner in the mix, we felt that a face-to-face interview could expedite the process.
Yesterday, my attorney and I made the trip to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Located in Alexandria VA, just outside of Washington DC, the USPTO occupies several beautiful red brick buildings – all built to the same code, all very modern, and all very nice. Our tax dollars have done well.
At a nearby café before our scheduled interview, we discussed our game plan and agreed upon what minor compromises we could offer if needed. The plan was to get an approval before we left.
After going through the metal detectors and ID checks (yes, the USPTO has its share of whackos too) we met our new examiner. I had tried to research him beforehand but we only had a last name and he didn’t appear in registry. Unlike most examiners, he is an attorney who used to work at the USPTO, went to the private side and recently came back as a senior level trainer and to expedite cases. Supposedly, the USPTO is backlogged by 750,000 cases and needs more help.
Since this examiner is new to my case, he stated right up front that he wouldn’t make any deals on this day as he didn’t have sufficient time to thoroughly research it. I could tell he was the meticulous and detail-oriented type and apparently not one to just push an application through just to reduce his case load. This wasn’t how we drew it up in sand, but I can respect the ethic. He also shared that in the “Gaming Division” the approval rate is only 9%. That’s a sobering 91 out of every 100 published applications get turned down.
After delivering all this great news, the examiner promised to help us and to move quickly. He seemed sincere and certainly smart. I proceeded to demonstrate online the working model of my patent pending claims. The three of us then moved onto review of the language used for the claims in the application. We had careful debate on terms such as “only” and “always.” The “a” versus “the” discussion literally headed off a deal breaker. Again, aligning myself with a brilliant patent attorney was a smart move and certainly apparent here.
We left the patent office with good advice and a plan for another round of revisions to the claims. We’ll file again next week and start what hopefully should be a short waiting period for approval.
Hopefully, good news to come soon.