What to expect from an examiner-initiated interview
From: Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Note: An examiner may only initiate an interview with the authorized correspondent of the patent application under examination. The authorized correspondent may either be the appointed patent agent or the inventor(s), in the case where no patent agent has been appointed.
An examiner may contact the authorized correspondent by phone for any situation in which it is likely to advance prosecution. These situations include, but are not limited to, requesting submission of a voluntary amendment to correct a minor defect in the application; clarifying/discussing correspondence received from the applicant in response to the examiner's office action; requesting pages that are missing from either the application or response; or any time the examiner deems it beneficial to call.
During the phone interview, the authorized correspondent should expect that:
- The purpose of the interview and/or the items to be discussed will be clearly communicated;
- The authorized correspondent will be asked if they need time to retrieve or review the case file before continuing with the discussion (especially for complex situations);
- If additional time is needed to review the file prior to any further discussions, that the examiner will schedule a follow-up interview for a mutually agreed upon date/time;
- The examiner will allow an agent time to consult with their client, if they so desire. Generally up to one week will be given for this purpose, after which the agent should decide if they are going to submit a voluntary amendment or would prefer to receive a report;
- If a voluntary amendment is to be submitted, the examiner will provide a due date for submission of said voluntary amendment. In most cases, the due date is 15 business days from the date of the phone interview; and
- The application and submitted amendments will be subject to internal QC prior to allowance. If any additional defects are identified following QC of the application, a further phone interview or office action may result.
Following the phone interview:
- The examiner will complete an interview record summarizing what was discussed during the interview;
- The agent and applicant will be able to retrieve a copy of the interview record from the Canadian Patent Database, generally within 2-4 days from the date of the interview;
- If the examiner has contacted the authorized correspondent to request a voluntary amendment to correct a defect and the authorized correspondent does not wish to submit any amendments, the examiner will prepare a written office action summarizing the defects discussed during the interview;
- If/when a voluntary amendment is submitted to the office, the authorized correspondent may wish to inform the examiner by phone of that fact so the examiner will know to periodically check for receipt of the amendment;
- Once the voluntary amendment is received, the examiner will review the application and submitted amendments and approve the application for allowance, if it complies with the Patent Act and Rules;
- The examiner will issue a written office action outlining the defects discussed during the interview if the voluntary amendment is not received by the agreed upon due date.
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