Transforming Examiner Interviews into Opportunities: A Practical Guide

Navigating the patent prosecution landscape requires more than just legal expertise; it demands a nuanced understanding of the human elements that influence the process. Examiner interviews are a pivotal aspect of this journey, offering unique opportunities to directly influence the outcome of a patent application. George Howarah shares his refined approach to these interviews, combining technical acumen with strategic interpersonal engagement.

The Importance of Personal Connection

George begins by emphasizing the importance of establishing a personal connection with the examiner. Before diving into the technicalities, he spends a few minutes asking about the examiner’s wellbeing and any updates from the patent office. This approach is not just about pleasantries; it’s a strategic move to make the interview less contentious and foster a collaborative atmosphere. Such a rapport encourages the examiner to be more open to discussion, laying the groundwork for a productive conversation.

Presenting the Invention and Claims

Another crucial part of George’s strategy is how he presents the invention and the claims. He carefully selects drawings that directly support his arguments and articulates the essence of the invention in his own words, steering clear of the complex language often found in claims. This approach not only aids in mutual understanding but also allows the examiner to view the invention from the attorney’s perspective, facilitating a more meaningful discussion about the application’s merits.

The Path to Agreement

The goal of any examiner interview is to reach some form of agreement that advances the patent application towards allowance. George shares his structured method for negotiating claim amendments, starting with the ideal outcome and gradually addressing more specific concerns. This step-by-step negotiation is designed to find common ground, however small, which can be crucial for prosecution estoppel and avoiding future legal hurdles.

George’s approach to examiner interviews is a testament to the power of preparation, personal connection, and precise argumentation. By adopting these strategies, patent attorneys can enhance their chances of success, transforming a daunting process into a manageable and even rewarding experience.

So, How Do You Conduct Examiner Interviews?

George’s methods are a blend of art and science, offering a proven framework for engaging with patent examiners effectively. But the field is wide open for discussion: How do you approach examiner interviews?

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