Create or Remove Matter Families (or related sets)

Last published at: March 14th, 2022

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Please Note: Updating matters from Private Pair, PEDS, EspaceNet or TSDR will automatically add priority connections for patent and trademark matters. However, subject matter connections must be added manually or via a spreadsheet import.

Matter Families, which are also known as "Related Matters" are built by establishing priority or subject matter connections between a group of matters. These "Related Matters" are useful when adding prior art to a patent matter. Specifically, when citing art to one patent matter, you have to option of citing the art to one or more of the related matters.

A matter family is started when one matter claims a connection to another matter. For example, if A claims a priority connection to B, A and B are now part of a family. If C later claims priority to B then A, B and C are all related, even though no explicit connection exists between A and C. Let's say D has connections (doesn't matter whether they are priority or subject matter) to E-H. If C has a connection to D, A-H all become part of the same matter family.

In the example below, matter AN-00001 only claims explicit connections to three matters, yet it's Related Matters section includes 11 matters.

Clicking on the icon highlighted above, provides a graphical representation of the related matters and how they connect to one another.

The following steps can be used to make a connection from one matter to another:
  1. From the Matters module click on one of the matters you wish to connect.
  2. On the Matter Details page, scroll down to the Connections section and click the Add button.
  3. In the Connection popup window, select either "Search existing matters" or "Specify connection information". If searching for an existing matter, begin typing the attorneyRef, application number or title of an existing matter in your account. Alternatively, you can specify a connection to a matter that does not exist in AppColl by checking the "Specify connection information" radio button and entering the required data.
  4. Select the Connection Type. Please Note: We do not recommend using Parent Application or Incorporated by Reference. These are legacy options that should not be used. Priority Application works whether the connect is to a parent or an intermediary application. 
  5. Click the Ok button.
  6. The newly connected matter (and all of its relatives) will now show in the Related Matters section in the left column.
  7. Lastly, click the Save or Apply Changes button in the upper left column to save the new additions.

Subject Matter Connections can become Prior Art

When adding a subject matter connection to a matter the user has the option to add the connected matter as prior art as shown below. Further, adding prior art to a matter generates a "File Supplemental IDS" task.

Adding Prior Art