A number of PATSTAT users have asked about citations that have a "PRS" code in the attribute "CITN_ORIGIN" (Origin of citation.)
Basically the USPTO examiner produces a sort of search during the examination procedure. This search is independent of the publication rhythm. Once the search is produced, the EPO gets the results of this ‘PRS’ search via a special data feed. Once the US-A publication appears, the EPO appends these citations to the A publication and in order to differentiate them from the citations printed on the A documents, we give it a “PRS”code. This is the way we (the EPO) calls them, but not the US nor anybody else (we had to give it some kind of name for the sake of adding them into our databases).
Observe that some of the searches seem to be done later than the A publication (other researchers have pointed this out to us...) , so the cited documents sometimes have a publication date later then the citing document –which is rather counter-intuitive. I assume the US examiners do (cannot) considered these publication as prior art though.
“References cited by the examiners during the granting procedure for US-A1 pre-grant publications”
https://wiki.piug.org/display/PIUG/EPO+ ... on+PG-Pubs
Results of AI-based automated pre-search examination effort. However, this would apply only to the most recent patent documents as this seems to be a feature in development phase.
See also: “The goal for Phase 1 is to develop the automated tool for examiners, providing them with the ability to view a master reference list, including references cited in the instant application (by applicant and examiner) and imported references from immediate U.S. parent applications (cited by applicant and examiner, but not third parties).”
https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-s ... rt-project
In practice, it would seem that pre-search citations are actually coming from examiners: “They are listed as being Pre-search on Innovation but since they come from Form 892 they have to be coming from the examiner.”
https://patinformatics.com/all-citation ... nnovation/
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