Tagged with Third-Party Submissions

Crowdsourcing 3D Printing Prior Art for Preissuance Submissions

Authors: Anita Bhushan, John F. Hornick

In an interesting turn of events, a segment of the 3D printing (3DP) community is leveraging the concept of crowdsourcing to find prior art and file it using the preissuance submission process.

3D printing—more formally known as additive manufacturing—is a technology for creating three dimensional objects from CAD files. Generally, 3DP works by fusing layer upon layer of materials, such as plastics or powder metals, to build a final, fully formed product. “Makers,” a segment of the 3DP community, are entrepreneurs, garage, and school lab innovators who practice 3DP. They are ordinary people using 3D printers to make things like working vinyl records, cases for cellphones, jewelry, art, and even 3D printers that can self-replicate. Makers are generally dedicated to open availability of the technology, and decide, collectively, whether and what intellectual property is appropriate in the 3DP world.

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Preissuance Submission: What, Who, When, and How

Author: Adriana L. Burgy
Editor: Jeffrey A. Berkowitz


  • A third party, anonymously, may file any patents, published patent applications, or other printed publications of potential relevance to the examination of a patent application.
  • May be filed in any non-provisional utility, design, or plant application, and any continuing application.
  • Cannot be filed in a reissue application, a reexamination proceeding, or an issued patent.

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AIA Statistics

The USPTO recently published updated statistics for filings under the AIA’s new preissuance submission, supplemental examination, and administrative trial provisions. Of note, the USPTO has not received a filing under the Transitional Program for Post-Grant Review of Covered Business Method Patents (CBM TPGR) in more than three months. The CBM TPGR is a proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), providing for the review of patentability of one or more claims of a “covered business method patent.” The USPTO has received a total of 15 CBM TPGR filings since inception of the program on September 16, 2012.

While CBM TPGR filings have waned, third parties are taking advantage of the preissuance submission process, having submitting nearly 80 such filings in February. Through the preissuance submission process third parties are able to submit “patents, published patent applications, or other printed publications of potential relevance to examination” in pending patent applications for potential consideration by the examiner. 37 C.F.R. § 1.290(a). The USPTO has received a total of 440 preissuance submissions since September 16, 2012.

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