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The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, or MPEP for short, is an important resource and reference that is used in the process of examining patents. The Manual contains guidelines on how patents should be written, formatted, and examined. The Manual can be accessed online as an HTML or PDF file, or by using an electronic version which is kept up to date by staff of the USPTO. The electronic version of the MPEP is called the eMPEP.
You can navigate through the eMPEP by entering keywords into the search bar located at the top right of the screen. This will bring up a list of all the sections of the eMPEP that contain the relevant keywords. The search bar allows you to specify whether you want to search through the MPEP, its indexes, its form paragraphs, or any combination of the three.
The built-in search function also gives you the advantage of choosing how your keywords interact with one another.
You can choose between three primary searching options, ADJ, AND, and OR.
These operators can be applied uniformly across the list of keywords using the drop down menu located below the search bar, or used in tandem by typing them into the search bar with the keywords.
Other search functions to type into the search bar is NEAR and NEAR/n.
The eMPEP can also be navigated by using the interactable table of contents located on the left column of the page. You can click the title of a specific chapter to navigate to the first page of that section, or click the drop down arrow on the left of the title to navigate to a specific section in that chapter. The table of contents is dynamic, and can work in tandem with searching. After a search is performed, the table of contents only contains sections of the MPEP that are relevant to the search results.
The USPTO website contains additional links which provide additional help and guidelines pertaining to navigating the eMPEP. The USPTO website has a section titled Using the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure, which has links to the MPEP and eMPEP. It also contains a small FAQ specific to questions about the MPEP and eMPEP. The USPTO also provides a PDF file which contains a guide on where to find the eMPEP and how to properly navigate it.
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