Patent office unveils electronic application prototype

The Patent and Trademark Office announced on Friday that it has begun to implement a prototype for a new system that will allow the agency to fully process patent applications electronically.

If successful, the prototype eventually would replace the agency's processing paper-based patent applications.

Under the system, select patent applications would be transferred to an electronic format and then be reviewed by patent examiners.

"Automating the patent-examination process is another example of the ongoing efforts of [office] and the Bush administration to create a quality-focused, market-driven, e-commerce-based organization that rapidly responds to the demands of the national and global marketplaces," PTO Director James Rogan said in a statement.

The European Patent Office designed core software used in the electronic image-based processing system contained in the prototype.

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