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Wiki Law School talk:MPEP Outline

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Hello. I'm planning to stiudy for the patent bar this summer. I would also like to help contribute to this MPEP outline. Please let me know what I can do to help. Marc.

Great! As you may have noticed, the MPEP sections are huge. Really huge, and full of stuff that we don't need to know for the patent bar. Some of these unnecessary parts are pretty obvious; such as the forms that examiners use in their patent examinations.

I think this project can be divided into two main phases: formatting and substantive editing. The formatting is a mind-numbing and thankless task. If this appeals to you, here is a brief description of what we need:

Formatting Help Needed

What I have started doing is:

  • breaking up the chapters into their component sections
    • (see MPEP 700 as an example, all it does is transclude each individual section into the main chapter outline.)
    • do this by cutting and pasting each main section into new pages that are named "MPEP <section number>" i.e., MPEP 701
  • adding the heading markers throughout the text, as follows:
    • for secondary section headings (i.e., 702.01) add "===" (three equal signs) before and after the section number and title:
      • "===702.01 Obviously Informal Cases==="
    • for tertiary section headings (i.e., 704.11(a)) add "====" (four equal signs) before and after the section number and title:
      • "====704.11(a) Examples of Information Reasonably Required===="
  • add the templates Template:MPEP Chapter to each chapter and Template:MPEP Section to each section.
    • These templates include category tags and navigation templates.
    • If you don't have experience with wikis, don't worry about this one unless you want me to explain how this works; you have to define variables for the template (but it's pretty simple)

Substantive Editing Help Needed

Participating in the editing process is what will help us learn the MPEP and prepare for the patent bar. This will require reading each section, deciding if it is important for the patent bar, deleting if not, and summarizing if it is.

How can you tell if something needs to stay or go? Some things are obviously unnecessary for our purpose, so immediately delete those. Otherwise, just play it by ear. Taking old exams will help you get a feel for what is tested and what is not. Plus, taking old exams is the most important part of your study regimen (IMO). If in doubt, leave the section there and ask on the discussion page for that section (as opposed to this talk page for the entire project).

I have started with MPEP 700 because I believe it is the most important chapter. The other biggies are MPEP 600 and MPEP 2100. If you want to begin there, that would be great.


Also, please check out the Patent Bar Preparation page, if you have anything to add, please feel free.

If all this makes sense, great. If not, please let me know. I'm glad to have you aboard and look forward to your contribution! Sysop 20:44, 23 May 2007 (MST)

Now I have memorial day weekend plans: MPEP 600.

Sounds like a fun weekend! If you have any questions and want to see an example, some sections of MPEP 700 are formatted in a way I think is good (including proper headings and navigation template).

I will be spending a lot of time for the next few days on migrating the wiki to a new server, which will allow us more flexibility (like a table of contents that is limited to only certain headings and that does not have the annoying section numbers (1.1, 1.1.1, etc.)).Sysop 17:28, 25 May 2007 (MST)

So I read 600. Wow. This is going to be tough. I'm taking a look at some old exams this weekend to guage what of 600 should stay and what should go.

Yes, this is certainly no small task. As I have been going through and making small changes to various sections, I think I have arrived at a better method of making this outline rather than editing an entire chapter at a time:

  • Take a practice exam
  • Go through answers of the practice exam one at a time.
  • Each answer (usually) cites the MPEP section that pertains. Go to that section, and rework only that relevant part (not the entire chapter nor even the entire section).
  • By doing this thing piecemeal, we will slowly make progress, and most importantly, we will focus on learning the material--especially the material that is tested.
  • After we (including anybody else that will be helping out) have worked on the sections that are tested, we can then start to look at other portions of the MPEP, perhaps deleting parts that appear to not be important and then reworking the others.

You may have noticed that MPEP 600 is now broken into sections. I have also included the section navigation templates. To edit a section, you must edit only the section; if you click the "edit" tab at the top of the page while viewing the MPEP Chapter 600 page, you will only see the inclusion tags for each section.

To get to the individual sections, click the "[edit]" link to the right of that section, or click on the section heading in the text.

One last thing: you "read 600?" Does this mean you read through the entire chapter? Wow indeed. Color me impressed. That is quite a chunk of reading.--Sysop 00:53, 1 June 2007 (MDT)

Current status of MPEP Outline

Hi, I'm preparing to take the patent bar and would like to help out on this project. I think it has potential to be a wonderful resource as well as a nice way to study the MPEP. I made an account today, but am having trouble determining where the current needs are. Is there a systematic approach to the outlining process or should I just pick a place and start working? If that's the case, is there a simple way to determine if a section is effectively completed? Thanks - Ian

Ian, thanks for coming by. I agree that this site can be a great resource to prepare for the patent bar. In fact, I spent a large amount of my study time using this site and managed to pass it last week. You'll notice that the vast majority of substantive edits made to the MPEP outlines have been by User:Lost Student (which is the sign-in I use for all nonadministrative activity on this website) and that my edits ceased after Aug. 6, which was the day before I took the test.

As for your question re: current needs, I think the best attitude you can have to contribute to these MPEP outlines is to worry less about what the outlines "need" and more about what you need or want to study. When you pick a section you want to study, go through the corresponding section here, and outline, clean up, etc. as you study. I figure that by keeping the focus on what you can get out of the website, and incidentally making improvements as you go along, will keep you coming back for more. Just a little work each by a lot of people will get us where we want to be.

See the bulleted list in the previous section for a good way to choose sections to study. This method will have you jumping around, but you will be going through the important sections (i.e., the sections that are questioned). Practice tests are crucial. (BTW I rushed through the Oct. 2003 test the day before I took the real thing, and I kid you not there were about 7 questions that were identical repeats from that single test.)

I have found that the MPEP is actually pretty good at explaning difficult ideas and concepts. Thus, as I outlined, I focused less on rewording and more on "distilling." If a paragraph seemed to be on point, I would leave it intact. If it covered a topic that belongs elsewhere or was not relevant enough to the section topic, I deleted it entirely.

If you want to determine if or how much a section has been edited, click the "history" tab at the top of the page. You can see how many revisions the page has undergone and even compare each revision.

Good luck and feel free to ask any other questions you have. The best way to do so is leave your questions at my talk page. When anybody does anything to that page, it alerts me as soon as I log on.-Sysop 19:52, 18 August 2007 (MDT)

Ideas for a more efficient effort

I think an MPEP Outline is a great idea, but I thought you might be better off starting with an existing outline and adding/editing it. You can search the web and find many of them...some good, some not so good.

It might prove to be benefical to approach some of the outline authors to see if you could use their work as a starting point. It would be more efficient than reinventing the wheel.

One might consider taking the best outline available and making that the basis for this project. Then, one could use information from the other outlines to refine/enhance the base one.

-I tend to agree that using a prexisting MPEP outline would be a lot less work; however, unless we got the author's permission, we would be in danger of violating the author's copyright. I never spent much time looking for MPEP outlines on the web, but if there are any good ones out there, that the creator would give permission to post, that would be great. Please post links to any you might find (I just did a quick search and couldn't find any free ones) and I will incorporate them into the outline. -Sysop 17:11, 27 August 2007 (MDT)

Hello, I created a new section 2103 but I do not have the permission to edit it. How should I edit it. Please advice.

Thanks, Pallavi

Welcome, Pallavi, and thanks for contributing! Adding a new section to an MPEP chapter is a little complicated because of the way we link to each individual section from the chapter page. I went ahead and created the MPEP 2103 page and moved content into it that you created.
As far as permissions to edit, the system requires that you wait a few days after registration before you can begin editing (this is a measure against spambots). You should be able to edit pages now. Please let me know if you have any troubles.--Lost Student 12:10, August 6, 2013 (CDT)

Changes from Bilski v. Kappos

MPEP 2106 conflicts with new law that is now being tested, in light of Bilski v. Kappos. You may want to supplement that section with the handout the PTO has given.


Yes, you have a good point. I moved your comment here because this page acts as the to-do list for the entire MPEP Outline project. Does anybody want to take the rowing oar for these updates?--Lost Student 13:49, 4 January 2012 (CST)