Checking Completeness of Art Citations with a Cited Art Matrix
As discussed in What Different Types of Art Must be Cited to the USPTO?, I emphasized the importance of ensuring that all types of known art are cited during prosecution across all of the patents in the portfolio. This information can quickly become overwhelming if not managed properly. One tool patent owners and lawyers can use to ensure consistent and thorough citation of art across a patent family is an "art matrix."
There are many ways one can create an "art matrix." Generally, to create an "art matrix" by hand, make a table listing all of the patent family members chronologically from oldest to the newest left to right across the top row. List all of the cited art down the leftmost column. Then, fill in the table with a check mark where a particular art reference has been cited in a particular case. If the citation of art has been consistent, the art matrix should not have any "holes" for any reference as you move from left to right across the chart.
In practice, it may be easier to use an Excel Spreadsheet and pivot table to create and update an "art matrix" rather than creating one "by hand." To do this in Excel:
Make a spreadsheet with at least the headings shown below.
For each patent in the portfolio (Patent 1 to N):
For each art reference cited during the prosecution of the patent:
Create a row that lists the Patent Number in one column, the Art reference cited in another, and a “1” in a third column to designate that the art reference was in fact cited in the particular patent application.
For example, as shown below in rows 2 and 3, Patent 1 only had Art 1 and Art 2 cited during prosecution:
Patents 1...N are the patent owners parents. Art 1...X is the art cited on the face of each issued Patent, and the art listed on information disclosure statement forms submitted in pending applications.
Creating a pivot table based on this data set will create an "art matrix" table as shown below.
In the above simple example, Patent 3 has a "hole" in the cell corresponding to Art 3. The "hole" may indicate a potential issue to investigate further.
The missing citation during prosecution of Patent 1 of Art 3 and Art X, and of Art X in Patent 2 can also be examined but is likely due to the citation of Art 3 and Art X after the issuance of Patent 1, and citation of Art X after the grant of Patent 2.
In the next post, I will describe one method of citing videos as non-patent literature in an information disclosure statement.