Allocation and Handling of Cases

Date Published

When a request for examination is filed in respect of a patent application upon which there is a publication prohibition order, the Prohibited Case Manager (PCM) will inform the supervising examiner of the relevant examination section, who will then advise the PCM of the name of the examiner who will examine the application.

Cases which are under a sec 152 or sec 173 prohibition order are to be handled in accordance with the Protective Security Manual. In particular:

  • applications that are subject of a prohibition order can be assumed to contain information that would be classified as either Restricted, or Secret, under the National Security Classification. As the number of applications involved is very small, all applications are handled as if the files were classified as Secret.
  • all prohibited applications are maintained as paper files under the control of a specified Team Leader in COG (the PCM).
  • all case file movements must be made by personal hand delivery (safe hand). At each movement of the case file between officers the movement register and action sheet must be endorsed and signed.

  • Examiners (and other staff) will only be given access to these case files if they have:

    • a current security clearance to Secret;
    • successfully completed relevant training on issues relating to handling classified material; and
    • a ‘need to know’.
  • Examiners must ensure that the case file is only passed on to a person that has the relevant clearance, training and a need to know. If the case file needs to be shown or passed on to another person, examiners must first ascertain from either the PCM, or the Security Officer, whether the case file can be shown or passed to that person.

  • Examiners must not assume that their usual supervisor has a current security clearance and completed the relevant training. Where the normal supervisor does not have clearance, or has not completed the training, supervision will need to be arranged with a different supervisor. The PCM, or the Security Officer, can provide advice on this matter.
  • Examination is to take place in a lockable room. Examiners are not to examine the application in a cubicle or open-plan environment where other staff can potentially view the contents of the application.
  • Examination reports are to be saved on a CD, which is kept in the case file.  If a CD is not included in the case file, examiners should contact COG and request that one be provided.  Examiners should not commence writing the report until a CD is provided, as the report must only be saved on the CD.  The report is not to be saved on the LAN, or on the computer’s hard drive.

When an application requires examination action, the PCM will contact file to be handed over. If examiners need to be absent from the room in which they are examining the case for a short period, the room must be locked. If examiners will be away from the room for more than a few minutes, the case file must be returned to the PCM for deposit in the safe. It is not sufficient to lock the case file away in the room or in a drawer. The case file must be returned to the PCM before the end of each day, and examiners are expected to liaise with the PCM about their respective hours of departure to ensure safe keeping of the case file. At each movement of the case file between officers the movement register and action sheet must be endorsed and signed.

When a response to an examination report is filed, the PCM will contact the examiner who issued the report (provided the person is available and has a current clearance) and arrange for the case file to be handed over.

Completion of Examination Report

Examiners should proceed as follows:

Adverse Reports

Examiners should download the appropriate template from DocGen and save it onto the CD.  When drafting the examination report, examiners will need to manually enter the application details.  Examiners must ensure that the report is only saved on the CD which is kept in the case file.  The report is not to be saved on the LAN, or on the computer’s hard drive.  Any printouts of the report must be placed in the case file or disposed of in the secure bins.  Once the report is completed, examiners should print out 2 copies (one for file and one for dispatch) and then return the case file by hand to the PCM, who will arrange for dispatch of the report.

Clear Reports

Examiners should print out a copy of the final report form located on the V: drive and complete the form by hand (see Final Report on the Examination or Modified Examination of Application No. and 2.13 Annex B – Guidelines for Completing the Final Report Form).  The form should be placed in the case file and the accepted case then handed to the PCM, who will arrange for the applicant to be notified.

Note: When completing the final report form, examiners should fill in the Abridgement Information on page 1.  This information is required in the event that a prohibition order for the application is later revoked and the application consequently becomes OPI.