Rejection Data - An Overview

What is a rejection? When someone files an application for a patent with the USPTO, the examiner often "rejects" the application with one or more statutory rejections. For example, the examiner may reject the application with a 103 rejection, called an "obviousness" rejection.

In AcclaimIP, we have the rejections broken out several ways:

102 rejection - This is a novelty rejection (or rather, a lack of novelty) that an examiner uses that does cite another patent that was filed previously (also known as prior art). Basically, the examiner is saying that some prior art matches each aspect of the submitted application, so the submitted application is not new/novel.

103 rejection - This is an obviousness rejection that an examiner uses that does generally cite more than one piece of prior art. Basically, the examiner is saying that it was obvious to combine a set of prior art to come up with what was filed.

Non-citing rejections - These are rejections that an examiner uses that does not cite another patent (e.g., a 101 or 112 rejection).

Forward Rejections

Forward rejections in AcclaimIP are when your patent is being used by an examiner to block someone else in a 102 or 103 rejection. Think of it as something that is happening to your patent app or grant after it has been filed/published. In other words, it is your patent being used as prior art against some application that was filed after your filed date.

102 Rejections

102, or novelty, rejections can be very powerful. Since the USPTO examiner is using, say, PatentX to block ApplicationY, the examiner is saying that ApplicationY is basically the exact same as PatentX. If I were the owner of PatentX, I would want to watch this very closely to make sure that my IP was not infringed. But only if I knew that the examiner had used my patent in a 102. With AcclaimIP, you can do this by easily creating powerful and complex searches, setting alerts, etc. 

103 Rejections

103, or obvious, rejections can be used in much the same way as 102 rejections. The difference is that for this type of rejection, more than one piece of prior art is generally used (e.g., PatentX in view of PatentY in view of PatentZ, etc.). 

In the case of 103 rejections, because multiple patents are used, AcclaimIP breaks out the rejections even more granularly than the USPTO does, itself. In the example above, PatentX would be labeled as 103.1, PatentY would be labeled as 103.2, etc. By breaking out the 103 rejections even more granularly, AcclaimIP allows you to focus on the primary, or 103.1, rejection. 

If you are the later 103 rejections (i.e., a 103.2+) the examiner may have only used a small part of your patent. Your patent may not even be in the same technology. There may be cases that these are important to you, however, so they are broken out for your convenience.

Reverse Rejections

Reverse rejections in AcclaimIP are those patents you have to get around to get your application granted. In other words, reverse rejections are those rejections you are sent in an office action when you file an application. You can then argue or modify your claims to get around those pieces of prior art in order to get your application granted. 

Note - the reverse rejections sub-tab only include the 102 and 103 rejections (and the prior art therein). Rejections such as a 112 rejection are considered "Non-Citing Rejections" and are not included in this tab.

Forward Vs. Reverse Rejections - Why Use One Over The Other?

When you understand forward and reverse rejections, you start to see that really, they are two sides of the same coin. It simply depends on how you want to look at that data that determines which you want to use.

Let's say that you want to see all of your patents that have blocked a particular competitor. Maybe it's because you are doing annuities, and want to make sure you pay the fees for those patents that are blocking this particular competitor. Whatever the reason, you would use the forward rejection searches so that you find your patents that have been used to block that competitor.

On the other hand, let's say you want to look at competitor patents that you have blocked. Maybe you want to see who you are blocking the most in that space. Whatever the reason, you would use the reverse rejection searches here to show competitor patents where you have been used to block them (your patents show up in their Office Actions sent to them by the USPTO).

These are only two of the many use cases where you could use one versus the other, but hopefully this gives you a feel for why both sets of rejection data is in the system, and why both can be very useful, depending on the situation.


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