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Director Michelle Lee: Moving toward Patent Clarity, posted by Dennis Crouch, PatentlyO Blog


The following is a post from Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee and was published on the PTO Director’s blog.

Patent quality is central to fulfilling a core mission of the USPTO, which as stated in the Constitution, is to ‘promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.’ It is critically important that the USPTO issue patents that are both correct and clear. Historically, our primary focus has been on correctness, but the evolving patent landscape has challenged us to increase our focus on clarity.

Patents of the highest quality can help to stimulate and promote efficient licensing, research and development, and future innovation without resorting to needless high-cost court proceedings. Through correctness and clarity, such patents better enable potential users of patented technologies to make informed decisions on how to avoid infringement, whether to seek a license, and/or when to settle or litigate a patent dispute. Patent owners also benefit from having clear notice on the boundaries of their patent rights. After and after successfully reducing the backlog of unexamined patent applications, our agency is redoubling its focus on quality.

We asked for your help on how we can best improve quality—and you responded.