103 Type Rejection: How to avoid it on your patent application?

Avoiding 103 type rejection PQAI

PQAI helps you identify the combinational prior-art that could be cited as the basis of an 103 type rejection on your patent application.

Looking forward to patenting your invention, the predicament of getting a rejection lingers around. Well, many a time it may be possible to overcome the rejection but it unnecessarily delays the allowance. Do you know what’s the most common reason for rejection? – It’s § 103 or obviousness.

103 type rejection accounts for 46.5% of all patent rejections

Note: Stats are based on the rejections (Final + Non-Final) given by the Patent Examiners, for the US applications from January, 2017 to September, 2020.

Stats show that 46.95% of patent rejections are because of existing combinational prior art (§103 Type). Read on if you don’t want the examiner to reject your patent application saying – ”your invention is obvious in light of so and so references”.

§ 103 Type Rejection | Combinational Prior Art

You receive a 103 type rejection when the examiner finds more than one document that jointly represents your invention as an obvious improvement.

Let’s say the idea is – “A drone for fighting forest fires that uses canisters filled with dry ice as fire extinguishing material.

Now if there exists two prior art documents: i) One that describes the use of aerial vehicles to fight forest fires. ii) And another that describes the use of powdered carbon-di-oxide (dry-ice) to extinguish the fire. Our idea shall be deemed obvious.

Combinational prior art to avoid 103 type rejection

Let’s run the example through PQAI (an open-source search engine that has the capability to identify the combinational prior art) and see what happens:

103 type rejection - Combinational prior art search using PQAI

So, we ran the idea query through PQAI and as a first combination of results, we got this:

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Result snapshot from PQAI

One prior art is talking about fire-fighting drones and second is describing the usage of dry-ice in fighting fires.

What causes § 103 type rejection?

According to USPTO, your idea should stand these tests-

  • Only one reference doesn’t need to disclose your invention holistically. An examiner can use a combination of references to relate to your idea.
  • Rather than considering the differences between the idea and the prior arts, the claimed invention as a whole shouldn’t be obvious over the referred prior art.
  • Your idea as a whole shouldn’t look obvious to a person having ordinary skills in the art (PHOSITA) over existing references during the time of invention.

In our example, the drone is a combination of 2 references that together make the invention possible. The example can’t stand against these guidelines by USPTO. So, our drone is liable to get a rejection under section 103.

You might like to check the video here that shows why our fire-fighting drone with dry ice would fail the test of section 103.

How to rule out § 103 type rejection?

It might not be a bad idea to run your idea through PQAI once to look for the combinational prior art. With PQAI, we have dreamt of creating the world’s first prior art search engine that can identify the combinational prior art. We have also taken the first step to realize this dream. We have developed the first version of PQAI and continuously training our AI engine to perform better. The dream that we have seen cannot come true without the support of people from across the globe especially inventors, patent professionals, NLP practitioners, patent offices etc. In the next section of the article we are presenting a few cases where PQAI spotted the prior art cited by the patent examiner to give a 103 type rejection.

PQAI | Combinational Prior Art Validation Tests

Application NumberPublication NumberPriority DateAssigneeRejection DateRejection TypePublication No. Prior ArtPQAI Input
16246472US10731375B27/6/16NABORS DRILLING TECH USA INC23/4/20103US9027287B2Abstract
15866107US10696381B29/1/18THE BOEING COMPANY,CHICAGO,IL,US15/4/20103US5908174AClaim 1
16451553US10754607B226/9/18QUALCOMM INCORPORATED,SAN DIEGO,CA,US16/4/20103US6396329B1Abstract
15712616US10762997B212/10/16KOREA ATOMIC ENERGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE,DAEJEON,KR22/4/20103US20140205052A1Claim 1
14594517US10777098B112/1/15RAYLYNN PRODUCTS LLC,GROVE CITY,OH,US22/4/20103US5121745AAbstract
16123902US10778561B28/9/17BROCADE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS LLC,SAN JOSE,CA,US23/4/20103US20130266307A1Abstract

For each of the listed 6 cases let’s see how PQAI spotted one of the prior arts used by the examiner to reject the patent application.

Case#1: US10731375 – “Side saddle slingshot drilling rig”

We picked up the abstract of the subject patent application – US10731375 ran it through PQAI.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Snapshot from PQAI

PQAI spotted a US patent titled “Fast transportable drilling rig system” – US9027287B2 as one of the prior art in the resultant 10 combinations.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Result snapshot from PQAI

Case#2: US10696381B2 –Hydraulic systems for shrinking landing gear

For this application, we picked up the claim and ran it through PQAI. 

#sidenote: When looking for prior art using PQAI for a particular patent, it’s best advised to put the invention query as (along with the priority date filter): 

  1. Abstract 
  2. Independent claims one at a time 
  3. Summary 
  4. Embodiments from specifications
Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Snapshot from PQAI

PQAI spotted US5908174A – “Automatic shrink shock strut for an aircraft landing gear” as one of the results in 10 combinations it presented. It’s also one of the prior arts listed by the examiner to reject the patent application.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Result snapshot from PQAI

Case#3: US10754607B2 – “Receiver and decoder for extreme low power, unterminated, multi-drop serdes”

We picked up the abstract from the patent application US10754607B2 and ran it through PQAI under the combinations (103) option.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Snapshot from PQAI

PQAI spotted one of the prior arts – US6396329B1; it’s one of the prior arts cited by the examiner to reject the patent application US10754607B2.

Case#4: US10762997B2 – “Decontamination method reducing radioactive waste”

We picked up the claim 1 of the subject patent application US10762997B2 and ran it through PQAI as shown below:

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Snapshot from PQAI

PQAI spotted one of the prior arts, the examiner cited to give 103 type rejection – US20140205052A1.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Result snapshot from PQAI

Case#5  US10777098B1 – “CPR training device”

We picked up the abstract of the subject patent application – US10777098B1 and ran it through PQAI to look for the combinational prior art.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Snapshot from PQAI

PQAI spotted US5121745A – “Self-inflatable rescue mask” as one of prior arts in one of the combinationational results. It’s also one of the prior arts cited by the examiner to reject the patent application US10777098B1.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Result snapshot from PQAI

Case#6: US10778561B2 – “Diagnostic port for inter-switch and node link testing in electrical, optical and remote loopback modes” 

We picked up the abstract of US10778561B2 and ran it through PQAI with a date filter. We looked for results published before 2017-09-08.

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Snapshot from PQAI

PQAI spotted US201303266307A1 as a prior art in two combinations. US201303266307A1 is one of the prior arts cited by the examiner to reject the subject patent application. 

Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Result snapshot from PQAI
Avoid 103 type rejection by conducting combinational prior art search using PQAI

Result snapshot from PQAI

Use PQAI for Combinational Prior Art Search (103 type)

§103 type – combinational prior art  is the most common type of rejection at the patent office. At PQAI, we have taken a shot at creating  a prior art search engine that’s capable of spotting combinational prior art. We are continuously testing and improving our algorithm to perform an even better search. We propose that you run your idea at least once through PQAI to look for combinational prior art before applying for a patent. All that’s needed is a few minutes of your time, who knows – PQAI may become your saviour from failing at the patent office.

Happy patenting! Try PQAI now!

Do Prior Art Search Yourself With PQAI!

Prior Art Search Made Easy With PQAI

Artificial Intelligence is changing the world around you. From suggesting videos you may like, to driving cars for you. But can AI accompany you on your prior art search spree? Let’s find out.

To Pursue or Not to Pursue? – That is the question

If you are one of the inventive types, you must be having a lot of ideas as you go about your day, as if problems are just kind of waiting for you to arrive and provide a solution. You also know the power and perils of ideas. Pursue the right one and you can make a fortune, pursue a wrong one and it can lead to wasted effort.

So it is important that you pursue the ideas that are most likely to give you high returns. But how do you know in advance?

Well, there is no simple answer to this question but few loose rules of thumbs. One is that it is better to pursue ideas that are actually new and never thought of before. This is important because if you market your idea, you can also get a patent for it. If your idea is not new you won’t be able to have exclusive access to it and you may not even be able to market it.

Many inventors don’t pay sufficient attention to it. Or they assume that if an idea has not been turned into a product then they have no risk in bringing it to market. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, only a small fraction of the actual ideas that have been patented are realized in the products. Therefore, it is important to run a prior art check before you begin to pursue any idea and be sure that you would be able to patent, and thus, have exclusive rights to market it.

The Prior Art Search | Challenges

There are plenty of free resources available for you to use to run a prior art search. These give you access to thousands of patents. But navigating through that heap of documents is a task of days. Not just that, these search engines require you to create sophisticated search strings. Here is how a sophisticated boolean search string looks like:

The state-of-art patent search tools cater to those who know what to look for and how and where to look for them. But you are an inventor who might not really have a legal background. Don’t worry though, there is a prior art search engine that understands natural language and is super easy to navigate through search results. It’s PQAIPatent Quality Through Artificial Intelligence. When AI can drive cars it can surely make prior art search less complex.

PQAI – An AI Powered Prior Art Search Tool

When using PQAI, you don’t have to worry about keywords and search strings. You also don’t have to worry about using operators to sieve your results. PQAI also helps you locate prior art without a classification search. Enter your idea into PQAI in plain English. And PQAI shall present to you only the top 10 results closest to your invention. The best part is, each result shows the relevant texts from within the document matching your query. This saves you from reading the patent documents or research papers in full detail.

It’s So Easy You Can Do It Yourself

Let’s assume that your idea is to create a light-weight, portable bluetooth speaker with an in-built light that glows like a real flame together with your music.

Prior Art Search | Bluetooth Speaker shaped like a lantern

Before investing time and resources into this venture let’s check for related prior art using PQAI. Go to projectpq.ai and enter the description of this invention in plain English. We did it for you as shown below.

When we ran this query through PQAI the AI algorithm curated the top ten most relevant representative results. And at the 7th position we found a patent that was pretty close to the invention in question. It’s titled – “Portable Bluetooth Camping Light”. Presented below is the snapshot of the result. It also contains a table showing query element mapping with the relevant text from the patent document.

Here are a few drawings from the above mentioned patent document that match with our invention query.

Looking at the prior art shown by PQAI. The invention seems to be already patented by someone else. This means it might not be very wise to pursue the idea any further.

It’s time for you to look for prior art matching your invention for real. Based on the results you receive you can choose to modify your query. You can also save the results you like to view later.  We are sure that you would be surprised to see the insightful results matching your invention.

You can further modify the results by adding filters. You can filter the results based on publication date, document type and source.

How The Dataset Of PQAI looks like?

The results that PQAI curates for you are not limited to just patents. This tool gives you results that include articles, research papers, R&D, and more. PQAI’s database as of today stands at 11 million US patents and applications and nearly 11.5 million research papers in the fields of engineering and computer science. 

What really sets this apart, and allows you more time is how you consume the results you are given. The tool will provide you with representative results from different sectors that have a relevance to your idea. Further, it extracts relevant snippets and maps them to different parts of your query. This saves the time you would spend reviewing or analysing an entire document to locate possible prior art

Let’s Sum It Up

PQAI has been created after mindful research and is still a work in progress. We have taken the concerns of inventors into consideration and are continuously training the AI engine to provide even better results. Easy, curated access to millions of documents and easy search navigation make this the ideal place to begin your patenting/entrepreneurial journey. Prior art searches don’t need to be a chore anymore, especially for inventors like you! Happy inventing!

Can PQAI Save Inventors From Failing At The Patent Office?

How PQAI can Save Inventors From Failing At The Patent Office

Patent rejection statistics say: “The probability of failing at the patent office is much higher than that of receiving the patent.”

There are 88.6 % chances that you won’t get a patent on your invention.

“Your patent application is rejected!!” – No inventor wants to hear this!

But the hard truth is many inventors face rejection at the patent office. Either because their invention is not new or deemed obvious. The figure below shows patent rejection statistics for patent applications filed between 2017 – September 2020. 21.28% rejections were because the invention was found non-novel or not new (102 Type). 46.95% rejections were because the invention was found obvious due to a combination of two or more prior arts (103 Type).

Patent Rejection Statistics
Note: Stats are based on the rejections (Final + Non-Final) given by the Patent Examiners, for the US applications from 2017 to September 2020.

Let’s Read The Inventor’s Mind

Curiosity:

Is my idea new? Maybe…

I need to find out if someone has created a product like my invention…

Anxiousness:

Let me do a quick check on google.

……. Search in progress……..

After 15 minutes……

…….No matching results found!……

So cool, no one thought about it until now!! Yayyyy!

Hope: 

Let me get a patent on my invention.

Hopefully I can sell it for a good price $$$$

Hustle:

Let me take some help from an IP community on the internet.

……after some googling and help……

Yay! Patent application filed.

Heartbroken:

“Your patent application is rejected!!”

Oh No :(, all $$$$ went for a waste.

Sad Inventor to hear her patent application got rejected

Would you apply for a patent if you knew that there are 88.6% chances that you won’t get it?

Probably not, alternatively, you would want to look for ways to succeed at the patent office! A few ways could be checking if:

  1. something similar to your invention already exists in the market.
  2. someone has already patented that invention.
  3. someone has described an invention like yours in public.

With all this information either you would drop the idea of patenting or refine your invention.

Finding this information could be challenging. In this post we have shared a solution that can increase your chances of success at the patent office.

Before that let’s take a look at the data about issuance rate at the patent office.

Probability Of Receiving A Patent

The other day, I came across a research paper by Yale University, What is the Probability of Receiving a U.S. Patent?, published in Yale Journal of Law and Technology in Issue 1 of 2015. 

Authors of the paper:

  • Deepak Hegde, Associate Professor of Management at Yale University, 
  • Dr. Alan Marco, Chief Economist at the USPTO, &
  • Michael Carley, Senior Data Analyst at T-Mobile.

The authors dived into the issuance rate at the USPTO.

Deepak et al studied 2.15 million utility patent applications filed between 1996 and 2005 and examined until June 30, 2013. The key highlight of their study is the continuous decline in allowance rate with each year. 

In 1996 about 70% patent applications turned to a patent which by 2005 fell to 40%. 

Further, their study points out that the chances of a patent application to get pogranted in the first go – First-Action Allowance – is only 11.4%. In other words, there are 88.6% chances that a patent application will be rejected by the examiners at the USPTO.

The US Patent Examination Process

First-Action Allowance 

You might be wondering what’s the first action allowance? Don’t let the jargon bother you. The first-action allowance means the patent got granted in the first go itself.

First Action Allowance Rate Stats

To top it off, the situation is even worse for the inventors at small companies – companies with less than 500 employees. Their first-action allowance rate for inventors from small US companies or individual inventors was only 9.3% during the period while the inventors from large US companies had a slightly better first-allowance rate of 10.7%. Their foreign counterparts fared well, however, due to a possible reason that they file only most important patent applications in the US.

Allowance Rate Stats

 

Further, there is a considerable gap of 15.8% in the allowance rate between Large (75.3%) and Small corporations (59.5%) in the US. Another striking finding of the study is that the application filed by small inventors in the biomedical domain has bleak chances of receiving a grant.

Reasons For Rejection Of The Patent Application

One plausible reason for the high rejection rate is that inventors are not aware of the existing prior art. By prior art we mean that the invention like yours exists. Either as a product in the market or as a concept disclosed in a patent or in a non-patent document. The patent rejections statistics where the popular rejection is USC 35 103 confirms this.

102 Type Rejection

The examiner gives 102 type rejections when he finds an exact prior art invalidating claims of a patent application.

Patent Rejection Statistics
Note: Stats are based on the rejections (Final + Non-Final) given by the Patent Examiners, for the US applications from 2017 to September 2020.

103 Type Rejection

The examiner gives 103 type when he combines two or more references to prove an invention disclosed in a patent application as obvious.

Patent Rejection Statistics
Note: Stats are based on the rejections (Final + Non-Final) given by the Patent Examiners, for the US applications from 2017 to September 2020.

Is It The Time To Rescue The Rescuer?

Increase in number of rejections shoot up the time to get a patent and also the patent filing cost. This discourages small companies, and especially startups and individual inventors that don’t have a big budget. To top it off, even if a patent is granted, its chances to make money remains slim.

One of the main reasons for the rejection is existing prior art that proves either the invention is ‘not new’ or ‘obvious’. Hence, it’s time to better equip inventors to be successful at the patent office.

A Possible Solution

Thus, if there exists a smart tool that is capable of making an inventor aware of other solutions/references that already exist and could lead to his invention deemed obvious or non-novel, he would be in a better position to make a go or no–go decision. He may share this detail with his attorney for consultation which may lead to a claim amendment before filing an application or other similar strategy.

Such an intelligent tool could have capability to clear the cloud of uncertainty from the patent filing sky. It could facilitate well-informed data backed patent filing strategies which have potential to bring down the patent prosecution cost, time, and number of rejection.