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Consider this WIPO: METHODS FOR TREATING SOCIAL DISORDERS and its current 3 entries at national levels:

The reviewer from the UK obviously did a much better job than his WIPO and US counterpart. (The WIPO review is horrible and makes absolutely no sense.) The UK reviewer findings are right and the prior art he found is obvious to anyone in the cognitive neuroscience field.

  1. Shouldn't the American and Canadian reviewers consider this UK review and its findings before granting a patent for this application? (They don't know about the prior art.)

  2. Based on the UK review findings, could the WIPO application be voided?

  3. If "yes" to Q1, how could or will this happen?

  4. Regarding Q1 and Q3: to make this happen, do I need to communicate with the USPTO, CIPO(Canada) and/or WIPO? Where, when and what?

Not only is this patent not deserved, but this patent application is as if someone tried to patent cognitive behavioral therapy (the most popular and effective psychological therapy) before its widespread adoption, trying to cash on everyone dispensing and receiving it. Voiding it (for prior art?) will allow us to dispense it for free to thousands of patients. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

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2 Answers

The US reviewer for this patent hasn't actually reviewed it yet - all he's done is issue a notice that the formalities are deficient. Until you see an office action on this one, you have no idea what the examiner is going to do with it. It's about due for an action, though - average pendency to first action is usually 2-3 years and this one is right around the 2 year marker. It may be worth figuring out the new procedures for providing the PTO with prior art, if you're really worried the US examiner won't look at the UK results (they may or may not, depends on the examiner).

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Thanks. Yes, I just got aware that is wasn't actually reviewed yet in the US. Regarding the USPTO switch from first-to-invent to first-to-fill, starting March 16 2013, do you know if it will make the prior art irrelevant in an hypothetical post March 2013 review? Thanks again Anon! –  John Crawford Sep 21 '12 at 16:29
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Google is turning up difficult results, but this sounds like a standard apparatus for classical Pavlovian conditioning, either in a booth or at home on a computer. I'd ask university behavioral science departments about classical conditioning apparatus for prior art. This kind of thing gets homemade a lot by scientists, I think. There doesn't seem to be a Pavlov Kit around for sale.

Here are some links I found that might also be relevant:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19089760

http://psychiatry.duke.edu/divisions/general-psychiatry/virtual-reality-therapy-phobias

Sorry I don't have more time to answer. The UK's response seems great, since they acknowledged prior art but then claimed a patent on using that prior art to treat anxiety, which isn't patentable according to them.

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Feel free to use our 'edit' features to improve this answer at any time! –  Robert Cartaino Sep 21 '12 at 1:07
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It's not Pavlovian conditioning per se, but it has been done before and in this very way. It's attention training with a modified probe task able to reduce the patient negative attentional bias toward negative social cue. The reduction in this negative bias leads to a reduction of anxiety. If you want to see prior art, look for MacLeod's work (Selective attention and emotional vulnerability: assessing the causal bias of their association through experimental manipulation of attentional bias). –  John Crawford Sep 21 '12 at 2:43
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