New Quality Measure Added to February Dashboard
Special Guest Blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Bob Stoll
The dashboard for the month of February has been released and is on our website. We have added a new quality measure, “Quality Index Report (QIR).” QIR, one of the factors making up the new composite quality metric that was recently announced, tracks the actions taken by examiners during prosecution of patent applications. The QIR is a statistical analysis of quality-related events in the prosecution, such as the reopening of final rejections and second non-final actions. Identifying quality issues prior to final action allows for corrective actions to be taken via coaching/mentoring and training.
The new quality composite greatly expands the previous procedures for measurement of examination quality. The effort is the result of collaboration between the USPTO, the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) Quality Task Force and the patent community. The dashboard continues to show the two historical quality measures of Final Disposition Compliance Rate and the In-Process Compliance Rate; these continue to be on target.
Traditional first action pendency increased only slightly to an average of 24.5 months for February up from 24.2 months in January, while traditional total pendency decreased from 34.5 months in January to 34.0 months in February. The USPTO continues to focus on reducing the backlog and first action pendency in order to achieve overall pendency and backlog goals.
Our Clearing Oldest Patent Applications (COPA) initiative continues to see great progress as the number of First Actions on cases older than 16 months chips away at the “tail.” This month there were 233,780 cases remaining in the tail. The preliminary UPR filing data through February shows that 202,456 applications have been received by the office to date this fiscal year, versus 186,065 over the same time last year. The backlog of applications awaiting first office action by examiners decreased this month to 715,461.
We think these metrics show some great progress. And, on a related note, I want to personally thank everyone worked so hard to ensure the passage of S. 23, the America Invents Act of 2011. The bill will provide the USPTO the needed resources to improve patent quality and reduce pendency, which will help innovators bring their products to market, build businesses and create much-needed new jobs. Our hope is that the House will quickly act on patent reform as well.
Thanks for your ongoing support and I look forward to your feedback.