The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has created two “online discussion tools designed to solicit input from the intellectual property community.” The tools will specifically be used to update and improve the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) and Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP).

The tools were developed to help facilitate discussion and feedback by (i) “encouraging readers to post comments about the current text, on a section-by-section basis, to point out errors, suggest clarifications, and suggest examples of interpretations”; (ii) “posting preliminary content and encouraging the community to comment on the preliminary content before it becomes official”; (iii) “periodically summarizing and following up on the comments on each section to ensure that meritorious suggestions are acted upon while streamlining the comment process”; and (iv) “providing a forum for the community to discuss and debate topics such as how to interpret recent court decisions.”

“The objective is to ensure that the MPEP and TMEP are as accurate, complete and current as possible and enable practitioners and examiners to find information easily and get accurate and complete guidance,” according to USPTO’s David Kappos. “This input from users will assist us to further improve these resources as well as our examining processes.” See USPTO Press Release, January 12, 2011.