Washington - The U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in collaboration with the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC), will host a series of public roundtables to solicit stakeholder input on ways the agency can reduce the number of Request for Continued Examination (RCE) filings. The initiative is part of the USPTO's continuing efforts to reduce patent application pendency. The programs, at which the public is invited to speak, will be held at five venues across the U.S., beginning Wednesday, February 20, 2013, in Santa Clara, California, and running through March 8, 2013, with stops in Dallas, Texas, New York, New York, Alexandria, Virginia, and Chicago, Illinois.
Reducing the patent application backlog remains a core objective of the USPTO. The agency has decreased the unexamined patent backlog from more than 750,000 to just above 600,000 since 2009, a 20 percent reduction despite an increase in filings each year of about 5 percent. During that time, the USPTO has also reduced the average time it takes to receive a first action on an application from 27 months to slightly more than 20 months. Decreasing the backlog of continued examinations remains a key focus of the USPTO.
"In the pursuit of issuing the highest quality patents, the examination process may take more than one round," said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO, Teresa Stanek Rea. "One of the purposes of this outreach effort is not to eliminate RCE practice, but to enable applicants to better understand the full range of alternative options we have available during the examination process."
A variety of initiatives implemented in recent years, such as the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot and After Final Consideration Pilot (AFCP), have led to significant improvements in compact prosecution and a substantial reduction in the unexamined patent application backlog.
USPTO is seeking to better understand the root causes for filing RCEs and plans to use the information gathered during the public events to design additional programs and initiatives aimed at reducing filings and the RCE backlog. To that end, the USPTO, in collaboration with PPAC, is providing a variety of forums where stakeholders can openly discuss reasons for filing RCEs and share ideas for reducing RCE filings through the submission of written comments by email or postal mail, through the web-based portal called IdeaScale®, and through five roundtables.
Additional information and a complete listing of roundtable dates and locations can be found on the RCE Outreach website: www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/rce_outreach.jsp.
For non-media queries contact Remy Yucel by telephone at (571) 272-0700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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