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Reviewing patent application # 20130293680 , and it appears that no thorough investigation has been made for prior works as well as public domain knowledge and adoption of techniques. Should companies that have been performing the function detailed in patent application # 20130293680 contact the patent office to provide proof of prior works before a final application decision is made, or is it more appropriate to wait for the patent office to make its judgment and then possibly consider the appeal process? Who does the patent office contact to ensure no prior works or technology overlaps with the patent application?

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There is no requirement that an applicant perform a search before submitting an application. However, an applicant must inform the USPTO of anything they do know that is relevant to judging the novelty or obviousness of the claimed subject matter.

The patent examiner does a search as a key part of the examination process. That search is a "paper" search and does not involve contacting anyone outside the patent office.

Under the new (2011) AIA patent law there is procedure for third party submission of documents to the examiner during a particular time window of the examination process. The Ask Patents site was created to help crowd source documents for that new process. The submissions are limited to published prior art and some comments on the applicability of the prior art documents.

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