Patent Quality Redefined: A “Clear” Focus in the US

Patent quality is extremely important, with even one misinterpreted word or phrase risking a potentially invalidated patent. Even worse, if that one word or phrase is then mistranslated into numerous languages, the IP could potentially be invalidated in every country in which protection is being sought. USPTO

What does patent quality really mean, though? For years, it’s been defined as the patent being “correct.” In November, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee outlined an Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative to extend the definition of quality to clarity within patents as well as correctness.

“Through correctness and clarity, such patents better enable potential users of patented technologies to make informed decisions on how to avoid infringement, whether to seek a license, and/or when to settle or litigate a patent dispute,” Lee wrote in her Nov. 6 blog. “Patent owners also benefit from having clear notice on the boundaries of their patent rights.“

The goals of the quality initiative include:

  • Building more confidence in the patent system by enhancing patent quality;
  • Making the system understandable and usable by all inventors; and
  • Ensuring each of our customers is treated fairly and professionally throughout the patent application process.

For MultiLing – as well as any company seeking patent protection in foreign countries requiring any degree of translations, ensuring all original source patents are both correct and clear will help keep translated patent applications correct and clear as well. Working with MultiLing to build a glossary of terms, similar to a style guide, will also help ensure the original document, and any translation, is correct and clear.

The USPTO is hosting a Patent Quality Chat from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. ET on the second Tuesday of each month to provide information on patent quality topic and gather input from interested parties. The next chat will be help January 12. For log-in details, visit