Denver Patent Office to offer 3-day course on why examiners make the decisions they do

The Denver Patent Office will be offering a free three-day course in March titled STEPP, or Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure. Here is more info from the Colorado Bar Association’s IP Section:

STEPP – Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course in Denver
March 5-7, 2019 at the Denver USPTO

Please email to sign up for this free training.
About the Course:
STEPP, or Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure, is designed to provide external stakeholders with a better understanding of how, and why, an examiner makes decisions while examining a patent application. Courses provided are free to attend.  In addition, CLE credit may be available. 

The STEPP program is an important part of the USPTO’s mission to deliver intellectual property information and education to external stakeholders. It is administered by theOffice of Patent Training (OPT).
Agent/ Attorney 3-Day Course on Examination Practice and Procedure
This course is limited to those who have passed the Patent Bar for the purpose of representing applicants before the USPTO.  The training makes use of statutes, rules, and guidelines relevant to practicing before the USPTO. Training focuses on how patent examiners examine patent applications according to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP).  The training is broken into three separate modules: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.  Day 1 focuses on the role of an examiner and the steps an examiner takes when reading an application for the first time.  Claim interpretation and 35 USC 101 and 112 are emphasized on Day 1.  Day 2  uses the information gathered during Day 1 to plan a search, conduct a search, and map prior art to claims using 35 USC 102 and 103.  Day 3 focuses on writing of an office action, as well as post-examination options such as the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU).  Similar to the training of entry level examiners, a sample application will be provided to each trainee and will be the focus of exercises during each module which build upon each other.  For a detailed scheduled please view the Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course Schedule.  Please note, the content and schedule of this course is subject to change. 
What is the purpose of the STEPP program? 
Increase transparency by making USPTO training on examination practice and procedure available to external stakeholders
Provide perspective to external stakeholders by detailing what an examiner considers in preparing an office action
Aid in compact prosecution by disclosing to external stakeholders how examiners are taught to use the MPEP to interpret an applicant’s disclosure 
What is NOT the purpose of the STEPP program?   
The STEPP program is not intended for applicants to discuss pending applications with patent examiners or to circumvent normal communications between applicants or applicants’ representatives and patent examiners. Applicants should continue to resolve any application-specific issues through the examiner of record or the Ombudsman program, as appropriate.

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