Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership
First Office Action Backlog Dips Below 700,000
Guest blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Bob Stoll
You’ll catch a major milestone on our updated patents dashboard in the USPTO Data Visualization Center. Our June numbers will show you that the backlog of patent applications awaiting first office action by examiners dropped to 695,086. This achievement follows a major effort to break the 700,000 mark that was launched last fall. The number of applications awaiting initial action following a request for continued examination (RCE) stood at 62,352.
Traditional First Action Pendency increased to an average of 27.2 months in June, up from 26.6 the previous month. These increases have been expected since we are working to clear up oldest applications from the backlog. The increase will continue until the oldest applications are removed from the backlog through the Clearing the Oldest Patent Applications (COPA) initiative. COPA continues to show results as the number of first actions on cases older than 16 months continues to drop. At the end of June, there were 131,748 cases which is down from 157,608 that remained at the end of May. Meanwhile, Traditional Total Pendency decreased from 33.9 months in May to 33.6 months in June.
The Preliminary UPR filing data through June shows that 372,980 applications have been received this fiscal year. Last year at this time, 357,002 applications had been received. The USPTO anticipates a four percent increase in filings this fiscal year over fiscal year 2010. The backlog of applications awaiting first office action by examiners decreased this month to 695,086. Finally, the allowance rate increased to 47 percent in June, which is 2.3 percent higher than this time last year.