Secret PTO Program Subjects Apps To Heightened Scrutiny

Law360, New York (December 3, 2014, 10:35 AM EST) -- Unbeknownst to virtually all applicants for patents, the United States Patent and Trademark Office operates a secret program called the Sensitive Application Warning System. Although SAWS has been mentioned in scattered anecdotal accounts from patent attorneys and examiners and a single leaked memo from 2006, this program is not based on any law nor is it reflected in the PTO’s published rules for its operation. The few previous references to this program indicate that if the PTO enters a patent application into the program, the application could face many additional rounds of scrutiny — and therefore substantial delays — during examination....

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