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Patent App Peacemakers

Sarah Fendrick at Patent Docs reports that the US Patent and Trademark Office is launching an ombudsman program to provide applications, attorneys, and agents with additional support to resolve application issues. According to a USPTO statement, the one-year pilot program is "intended to provide applicants with additional resources to ensure application-processing problems are handled in a more efficient way, thereby saving applicants and the Agency both time and resources and improving patent quality." Each USPTO Technology Center has employed one ombudsman and one alternate, "supported by senior supervisors and TC staff, including supervisory patent examiners, training quality assurance specialists, and subject matter experts," according to the agency. The USPTO says that this pilot program will not replace existing resources for patent application support, and that applicants should only contact an ombudsman if they feel "that examination has stalled and that their effors to move their application forward through normal channels ... have not been effective."