The Patent Office's SAWS Program — Retired


On March 2, 2015, the Patent Office announced on its website that it has decided to "retire" the Sensitive Application Warning System (SAWS) system. In its announcement, the Patent Office noted that the decision to cancel the program was justified by changes in the rules governing publication of applications: "today, unlike when the SAWS program was created [in 1994], most applications are published eighteen months after submission, exposing them to public scrutiny and the potential for third-party submissions of prior art."

The announcement also noted that applications that are currently flagged in the SAWS program "will now proceed through prosecution absent any additional SAWS-related processing."

This move by the Patent Office comes on the heels of much recent criticism of the SAWS program, and particularly its secretive nature and how applicants were kept in the dark about the program and the status of applications flagged in the SAWS system.