What is the MPEP?
Its actual title is the Manual of Patent Examining Procedures and it is a multi *thousand* page manual that employee’s of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) use in their job examining patents as patent examiners.
The manual is published by the USPTO and is constantly changing based on law and procedure updates. Currently, the manual is on it’s 9th revision of the 8th edition which is updated based on the America Invents Act (as of 11/25/2012). The bases for the manual is Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“37 C.F.R.”). Title 37 of the C.F.R. is derived from Title 35 of the United States Code (“35 U.S.C.”) which governs all aspects of patent law.
What is it for?
The MPEP is used by patent attorneys, agents, examiners and pro se applicants.
The MPEP describes all the laws and regulations to be followed in US patent application examination. It also provides specific situational examples of the application of these laws and regulations. As such, this manual is not only used by patent examiners but also by patent attorneys and agents to aid them successfully practicing before the USPTO. Additionally, this manual also provides guidance for patent seeker to persuasively argue to the patent examiner why the application should be granted or not.
In essence if you work in the patent field be it as an examiner or as an attorney/agent or as a pro se filier the MPEP is your bible. Everything you will need to prepare, file and pursue a patent is included in this massive text.
Chapters in the MPEP
Included below are the chapters of the MPEP. In addition to the main chapters (0100 – 2700) also included are seven appendixes. These appendixes are very help in looking up specific 35 U.S.C. or 37 C.F.R. items (appendix L and R) which might otherwise be hard to find in the normal chapters of the MPEP.
0100, Secrecy, Access, National Security, and Foreign Filing
0200, Types, Cross-Noting, and Status of Application
0300, Ownership and Assignment
0400, Representative of Inventor or Owner
0500, Receipt and Handling of Mail and Papers
0600, Parts, Form, and Content of Application
0700, Examination of Applications
0800, Restriction in Applications Filed Under 35 U.S.C. 111; Double Patenting
0900, Prior Art, Classification, and Search
1000, Matters Decided by Various U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Officials
1100, Statutory Invention Registration (SIR) and Pre-Grant Publication (PG Pub)
1300, Allowance and Issue
1400, Correction of Patents
1500, Design Patents
1600, Plant Patents
1800, Patent Cooperation Treaty
2000, Duty of Disclosure
2200, Citation of Prior Art and Ex Parte Reexamination of Patents
2300, Interference Proceedings
2500, Maintenance Fees
2600, Optional Inter Partes Reexamination
2700, Patent Terms and Extensions
Appendix I, Partial List of Trademarks’
Appendix II, List of Decisions Cited
Appendix L, Patent Laws
Appendix R, Patent Rules
Appendix T, Patent Cooperation Treaty
Appendix AI, Administrative Instructions Under The PCT
Appendix P, Paris Convention
Index, Subject Matter Index
Included below is a link to a interactive MPEP online provided by the USPTO.
For the test…
The MPEP is used extensively on the patent bar exam. When I say extensively I mean EXTENSIVELY! As a test taker you are allowed access to a digital version of the MPEP. This digital version has a search capability similar to adobe acrobat but searches chapter by chapter. Since there are so many chapters you must know which chapter the topic you are looking for is in to avoid wasting time. The best bet is to try and memorize the MPEP chapters that way you can go directly to the chapter that the topic is in and proceed from there.