Rowan Prosecution FAQ

We’ve anticipated some of your questions about Rowan prosecution (formerly SmartShell). Here are the answers.

Dave Billmaier avatar
Written by Dave Billmaier
Updated over a week ago


What is Rowan prosecution?

Rowan prosecution is automation software used to significantly simplify the process of responding to patent examiners.

Why should I use Rowan prosecution?

Rowan prosecution assists you in generating shells. It increases your efficiency in creating shells so you can move on to other  work. In a side-by-side comparison, veteran paralegals using Rowan prosecution were able to create patent shells five times faster than with traditional, manual entry methods.

How do I sign up to use Rowan prosecution?

Click here to request an account.

Is there a way to trial Rowan prosecution?

Click here to get more information about our pilot program.

How much does Rowan prosecution cost?

Rowan prosecution is offered as a monthly subscription based on your volume. Contact us to discuss your expected volume and contract options.

How does Rowan prosecution work?

Rowan prosecution uses predictive analytics, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and other automation and artificial intelligence technology.  Users enter the patent application number, and Rowan prosecution goes to work, intelligently scanning and extracting data from the patent examiner’s response, highlighting the examiner’s issues, rolling over and cleaning the previous claims, and creating a custom response shell from a bank of selectable templates in Word format.

How can I provide feedback on Rowan prosecution?

Click the comment bubble icon in the lower right corner to send us a message, or email We appreciate your feedback!

Office action import

What do I need to provide Rowan prosecution?

You can begin the process by entering only the application number of a published application. Or, you can upload a Word or PDF version of the Office Action. If you want the shell to include claims, then you must provide the previously filed claims as well.

When can I enter the application number and when do I have to provide the Office action as a file?

You will need to provide the Office Action as a Word or PDF file for any unpublished applications. As long as the application is published, you can try entering the application number. Rowan prosecution will then ask you to confirm the date of the most recent Office Action that appears in our database. If the Office Action is too recent and does not appear in our database, then you can either wait a day or two and try again, or upload the OA PDF.

Why can’t Rowan prosecution automatically retrieve Office actions from Private PAIR?

Private PAIR requires an account with the USPTO that is sponsored by a registered patent practitioner. Please contact us if you would like to discuss integrating Rowan prosecution with your Private PAIR account(s).

What types of Office actions does Rowan prosecution handle?

Currently, Rowan prosecution can handle Non-Final, Final, and Restriction Requirement Office actions.

Bibliographic Extraction 

Can I change the information Rowan prosecution extracted?

Yes. On the Bibliographic Information screen, all fields are editable. Please confirm that the data is correct and appears in the format you’d like, before continuing to the next screen.

Why is it missing information in some fields?

Rowan prosecution retrieves information from Public PAIR in order to fill in the bibliographic data fields. For unpublished applications, Rowan prosecution instead uses only the data it can get from OCRing the Office Action itself, but you will need to fill in the remaining data yourself.

What is SSP?

SSP is the Shortened Statutory Period for response. It will default to 3 months, as stated on the Office Action itself. If you want your client letter to indicate an earlier due date, you can change the SSP date to one or two months instead.

How is SSP calculated?

The SSP date is calculated by adding the number of months stated in the Office action cover pages to the mailing date, based on how the MPEP describes calculating the statutory period.

Issues Identification

How does Rowan prosecution identify issue statements?

Rowan prosecution uses Natural Language Processing (NLP), and other automation and artificial intelligence technology to identify the issues statements in an Office action.

What if Rowan prosecution missed an issue statement?

You can add an issue statement by clicking the orange “Add New Issue” button, selecting the issue text, and then indicating what type of issue it is.

What if Rowan prosecution identified text that wasn’t an issue statement?

Click the red gear to the right of the statement. You’ll then have the option to modify or remove the issue statement.

What if Rowan prosecution missed part of an issue statement?

Click the red gear to the right of the statement, then click “Modify issue”. Use your cursor to select the text you want included in the issue statement, then choose the issue type from the dropdown list. Click “Apply” to save your changes to the issue statement.

Claim Roll-over and clean-up

What does Rowan prosecution do with the claims?

Rowan prosecution extracts the claims from the document you provide, rolls over the status indicators, cleans up any markup, and inserts the cleaned up claims into the shell document with the formatting specified in the template.

What do I need to provide?

Rowan prosecution requires a .docx Word document containing the most recently filed claims. This can be the original specification document (as long as the claims are included), or the entire previously filed amendment or Office Action response; Rowan prosecution will find and extract the listing of claims. You do NOT need to clean up any claims markup first!

What if I don’t have the right document?

If you don’t already have a Word (.docx) file, then…

(a) If you have a .doc or .rtf file, you can simply save it as a .docx. Rowan prosecution should then accept the file.

(b) Rowan prosecution can OCR a PDF of the claims for you, using advanced patent-specific OCR technology. If the application is published, then Rowan prosecution can retrieve the claims from public PAIR and OCR them for you. Otherwise, you can retrieve the claims PDF yourself from private PAIR, then drop it into the OCR tool. Note that no OCR technology is perfect, and we highly recommend a thorough review of the OCR result before you continue the process by dropping that .docx file into Rowan prosecution.

How does Rowan prosecution handle chemical formulas or other images in the claims?

Rowan prosecution does not currently handle chemical formulas or other images. You will need to paste these images back into the final shell document.

Template Customization

Can Rowan prosecution work with our company's shell template?

Yes! Contact us to request a customized template.

What if we have more than one template?

No problem. We can customize any number of templates for you, and your users will just choose which one to use for each project as the final step in the Rowan prosecution process. Depending on your pricing plan, there may be additional one-time setup charges for extra templates.

How do we import our templates?

Contact us to request a customized template. Once you provide samples of your template and some completed shells using that template, we’ll do a one-time approval and installation process and then your customized template will be available for all users in your organization.

What if we need updates to our templates once they’re set up?

Contact us to request any further customization for your templates.

Prepping Office Actions for Rowan prosecution

Why would I need to do this?

Most office actions closely follow a particular format and contain accurate information on prior art cited by the Examiner. Sometimes, however, issues with an office action, such as formatting inconsistencies, typing errors, or problems with optical character recognition (OCR), can prevent the prosecution tool from creating a complete and accurate response shell with annotated prior art. The article linked below describes some of the most common issues we’ve seen and how you can fix the office action to obtain the prosecution files you need.

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