Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership
May Patents Dashboard Overview
Guest Blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Bob Stoll
The Patents dashboard May updates are now posted on uspto.gov. Because the USPTO strives to make our operations and goals transparent, this month we added a new Request for Continued Examination (RCE) backlog measure to the dashboard. The RCE backlog is the number of Request for Continued Examination patent applications in the pipeline, at any given time, which are awaiting an initial action after the RCE submission. The current number of applications awaiting an initial action after the RCE submission is 62,854. Traditional First Action Pendency increased to an average of 26.5 months in May. This increase from 25.9 last month was expected since we are working to clear up the oldest applications from the backlog. The increase will continue until the oldest applications are removed through the Clearing the Oldest Patent Applications (COPA) initiative. We continue to see excellent progress as the number of first actions on cases older than 16 months chip away at these oldest applications. At the end of May, there were 157,608 cases remaining in the applications included in the COPA initiative, down from the 299,099 that existed at COPA’s inception. Meanwhile, Traditional Total Pendency increased just slightly from 33.8 months in April to 33.9 months in May.
The Preliminary UPR filing data through March shows that 328,424 applications have been received this fiscal year. Last year at this time, 311,308 applications had been received. The USPTO anticipates a 4.5 percent increase in filings this fiscal year. The backlog of applications awaiting first office action by examiners decreased this month to 703,175. Finally, the allowance rate increased to 46.5 percent in May, which is 2.2 percent higher than this time last year.
While we have some good news to report this month, the USPTO’s funding constraints, and resulting hiring freeze, continue to make it challenging to meet the desired progress in reducing the backlog and shortening the time it takes to get a patent.
As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.