USPTO News: Electronic Submission of Chemical & Biological Structural Data

PatentlyOImage012To underscore an earlier post, the USPTO is considering enacting a rule that would require Applicants to submit structural data on chemical compounds and biological molecules in electronic format.  The PTO believes that such a rule would aid in the processing and examination of patent applications that include structural data, and the submission of structural data to searchable public databases (upon application publication).
From a brief reading of the questions presented for comment (pp. 35575-77 in the Federal Register link below), the PTO appears undecided as to a number of issues, including:
- whether submission of any type of structural data would be required or optional;
- to which type of molecule(s) the new rules would apply (e.g., small inorganic/organic molecules, large biomolecules);
- whether the rules would apply only to new data, or also include compounds/data cited (prior art) in applications;
- whether the PTO would form partnerships with one or more third party database providers (share data upon publication);
- what format/software would become the standard for electronic submission of structural data.
The PTO has set a deadline of August 22, 2005 for comments to its questions. Comments to are preferably sent via e-mail to Federal Register Link.
NOTE: This USPTO News Update was written by Christopher Singer.  Chris has a PhD in bio-inorganic chemistry from Northwestern University and is a patent attorney at MBHB.  He has also agreed to take a more active role in the blog and will be handling the bulk of USPTO News updates. [Singer Bio].