Facts about the patent ombudsman program

Glenn W. Peterson

Applying for a patent is a complex process that requires a person to follow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s instructions completely. For those Californians who are new to the process, filing an application can be a daunting task. It can become even more difficult if the application process has stalled for some reason or the patent has been rejected. That is why the USPTO has introduced the patent ombudsman program. This program is designed to offer assistance to filers during the application process.

The program offers help with initial filings, rejections and any issues that may arise during the process. If a person wants assistance, he or she can fill out a simple form on the USPTO website and a representative will contact him or her within 24 hours. Filers may also call the USPTO for assistance.

It is important to note that the ombudsman program is not the place to get information about patent status, though. It is also not for general questions. A person should have a specific patent application issue in order to use the program. It is suggested that applicants use the system only when all other avenues of getting help have failed to work.

All interactions with the ombudsmen can be kept confidential, if requested, and all services are offered for free. Attorneys are also allowed to use the program under the same conditions. The goal is to help individuals clear up problems they have encountered during the filing process or to assist them when applications have been rejected.