Discussions between an applicant and an examiner are often indispensable to advance the prosecution of a patent application. Generally, interviews that improve the mutual understanding of specific issues in an application should be promoted. Properly conducted, an interview can bridge the gap between an examiner and an applicant with regard to the substantive matters at issue in an application. Interviews often help to advance prosecution and identify patentable subject matter. The applicant and the examiner should consider the advantages of conducting an interview to advance the prosecution of a particular patent application. Positions presented during an interview should be advanced with decorum and courtesy.
An interview should be granted when the nature of the case is such that the interview serves to develop or clarify outstanding issues in an application. Both applicants and examiners should understand that interview time is limited for both, and therefore they should use the interview time efficiently. Both parties should ensure the interview does not extend beyond a reasonable time and minimize interruptions during the interview. Applicants and examiners should facilitate the grouping of interviews where effective.
All discussions between the applicant/practitioner and the examiner regarding the merits of a pending application will be considered an interview and are to be made of record. This includes any and all records or communications received in connection with the interview, whether the interview was conducted in-person or through a telephone conversation, video conference, electronic mail, or electronic message system. This policy and other interview tips are detailed in the Interview Best Practices document which is available at www.uspto.gov/patents/law/exam/interview_ best_ practices.pdf. Where an electronic record is created as part of the interview, e.g., a series of electronic messages, a copy of the electronic record is to be made of record in the application. Where an electronic record is not created a summary of the interview must be made of record.