Patent Bots Documentation

Patent Bots has two products: (1) patent proofreading and (2) examiner statistics. The products are mostly self-explanatory so you can use them without reading this documentation, but you'll find some helpful tips here.

Proofread Patent Applications

We have two types of processing for patent applications: (1) "Analyze Claims" and (2) "Analyze All" which checks reference labels and figure numbers in addition to claims. We process your patent application in memory (never stored to a database) and immediately discard all information after returning results.

Note that our patent proofreading isn't perfect, and we do make mistakes. We will, however, find mistakes that you miss, and greatly improve the quality of your work. We believe that we have the most accurate patent proofreading available.

Expected Format

We are only able to process MS Word documents in the ".docx" format. If your file has a ".doc" extension, please save it as a .docx file.

We expect the following a sequence in your patent application:

  • Title — We use the first non-empty paragraph as the title. If you have a header page, then we may have an incorrect title, but this won't affect our processing.
  • Specification — All paragraphs up to the beginning of the claims section are included in the specification.
  • Claims — We identify the start of your claims section by looking for a paragraph with only the word "Claims" or a phrase like "What is claimed is:" (any capitalization). All paragraphs until the abstract section are included in the claims.
  • Abstract — We identify the start of the abstract section by looking for (i) a paragraph "Abstract" or "Abstract of the Disclosure" (any capitalization) or (ii) a non-numbered paragraph after a page break.

We have tried to accomodate different styles of practice, but if your style differs from what we expect, you may get an error. If you do get an error, please contact us for assistance. We will do our best to update our processing to accomodate your practice.

A few items to note about how we process your documents:

  • the/said — If your claims use "said" as in "said widget", we will change "said" to "the". This improves our accuracy in processing your claims.
  • Comments — We allow you to include comments in the claims, e.g., to share with inventors. All paragraphs in the claims that start and end with "***" will be treated as comments and ignored.
  • Track Changes — Track changes are treated as if they had been accepted in your Word doc.

Analyze Claims

Our analysis results are self explanatory, but we will highlight a few features that you may not have noticed. For several parts of our analysis results, you can click or double click to obtain more information:

  • For the antecedent basis results, click on any yellow highlight, red highlight, or red underline to see additional information to help you diagnose the error. When you do this, we will bold relevant claim words to help you understand the error.
  • For the antecedent basis results, you can also hide part of the highlighting. For example, you may want to hide the green highlights. See the check boxes near the top of the tab.
  • For word and phrase support, hover over any word/phrase to the number of matches and double click to immediately see how you used the word/phrase in the spec.
  • For phrase support, you can also check support for any phrase in the claims. Select a phrase with your mouse, and we'll immediately count the number of times that phrase appears in the spec and show it to you in the floating box on the right. You can also double click the selected phrase in this box to see how you used the selected phrase in the spec.

We also support multiple dependent claims. For multiple dependent claims, to not have an antecedent basis error, you must have an antecedent basis in each of the parent claims. For example, if claim 20 recites "the widget" and depends from claims 1-19, then each of claims 1-19 (or one of their parents) must recite "a widget" to not have an antecedent basis error.

Analyze All

We can check your reference labels and figure numbers for errors in addition to the claims analysis described above. We can do this with only your application, but we can also process your figures to do additional error checking. We can process figures in PowerPoint (must be .pptx and not .ppt), Visio (must be .vsdx and not .vsd), and PDF formats.

We look for reference labels with 2-5 digits and optionally followed by a letter. Our reference label results are presented as a table with three columns:

  • Reference labels — The first column lists the reference labels we found in your application and/or figures. Some of these may not actually be reference labels. You can double click a reference label to immediately see the paragraphs from the spec where you used the reference label.
  • Specification — The second column lists the text we found in your specification for the reference label along with a count of the number of times each phrase appeared. If the cell is red, we didn't find the reference label in the spec. If the cell is yellow, the reference label may have been used inconsistently. You can double click the reference label text to immediately see the paragraphs from the spec where you used the reference label with the text.
  • Figures — The third column indicates whether the reference label appeared in the figures and, if it does, the figure numbers on the same page as the reference label to help you quickly find the reference number in your figures.

We also check to make sure that you have used your figure numbers consistently. We look for all possible ways you may number your figures (e.g., "Fig. 1", "Figs. 2A-C", "Figure 3", etc.). Our figure number results are also presented as a table with three columns:

  • In Summary — The first column lists the figure numbers found in the "Brief Description of the Figures" section of your application.
  • Specification — The second column lists the figure numbers we found in your specification after the Brief Description of the Figures.
  • Figures — The third column lists the figure numbers found in the drawings.

Each figure number should appear in all three columns, and the red cells indicate when a figure number is missing in a location.

Multiple Dependent Claims

Patent Bots works with multiple dependent claims, but be careful to not have too many. If you have claims like this:

1. A method for foo.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein ...
3. The method of any of claims 1-2 wherein ...
4. The method of any of claims 1-3 wherein ...
20. The method of any of claims 1-20 wherein ...

then the total number of claims is about 500,000, and this exceeds our current processing capabilities!

Proofread Office Action Responses

We have two types of processing for office action responses: (1) analyzing claims and (2) converting MS Word track changes to overstrikes and underlines (this is a utility rather than proofreading, but this seems like a good place to put it).

Expected Format

The content of office action responses is more varied so we look for the start of your claims and the end of your claims.

  • Start of Claims — We search for the first paragraph of your office action response that looks like a claim. To avoid mistakes, we only look for a claim with a claim status indicator (e.g., "Currently Amended") so you'll get an error if your claims don't have status indicators.
  • End of Claims — For the end of your claims, we look for typical section headings (e.g., "Remarks" or "Amendment to the Specification") or a paragraph after a page break that doesn't look like a claim.

Analyze Claims

The processing here is mostly the same as for patent applications. Here are the main differences:

  • Specification — To check the word and phrase support of your claims, we need your specification. We thus allow you to upload the MS Word doc of your application. Though, if you don't provide the application and your application is public, we'll go get it for you! So if your application is public, just leave the box for uploading the application empty. If you don't provide your application and it isn't public, then we'll still look for numbering and antecedent basis errors.
  • Claim Status Indicators — We'll let you know if you've amended a claim but forgot to change the status to currently amended or vice versa. We treat a claim with overstrikes, underlines, double brackets, or track changes as being amended.
  • Claim Summary — Many people start the remarks section with a summary of claim changes (e.g., "Claims 1-21 are pending. Claims 3, 8, and 13 are amended. Claim 21 is new."). We generate this text for you so you can copy and paste it into your Word doc.

Convert Track Changes

This is a simply utility for people who use MS Word track changes in editing their claims. We process your Word doc and convert the track changes to underlines and overstrikes. Note that we convert ALL track changes to underlines and overstrikes so you should resolve track changes outside of the claims before using this utility.

Generate Office Action Response Shells

This another time saving utility. Before you start working on an office action response you need to update the claims, and we automate this process for you.

  • Create from Application — For your very first office action response, you need to take the claims from the patent application and add a status of "Original". We extract the claims from your patent application and add the Original status to each claim.
  • Create from Previous OA Response — For subsequent office action responses, you need to modify the claims from the previous office action response. We extract the claims from your previous office action response, remove underlines, remove text with strikethrough or double brackets, and change a claim status of "Currently Amended" or "New" to "Previously Presented".

We are working on expanding our shell generation. In the future, we will allow you to use your own templates and also extract relevant information from the USTPO (e.g., art unit, examiner name, etc.).

Print Proofreading Reports

You can use the print functionality of your browser to print our proofreading results to paper or to a PDF file. When printing, you need to select the print option for "Background graphics" in order for the highlighting to appear. In the Chrome print dialog, you can find this option under "More settings" and it looks like this:

Patent Examiner Statistics

Our patent examiner statistics should be mostly self explanatory. The statistics relating to appeals are available with a subscription and the other statistics are available for free to all logged in users.

We are working on adding more statistics. Please let us know what other statistics you would like to see, and we'll do our best to include them.

We update the statistics about every two months, and our data set is all public applications filed in 2010 or later.