November 17, 2008
Press Release, 08-42
USPTO 2008 Fiscal Year-End Results Demonstrate Commitment to Sustaining High Performance
Patent and Trademark Operations Rose to Highest Performance Levels in Agency’s History
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released fiscal year-end numbers that demonstrate the agency’s commitment to sustaining high performance in the quality and timely examination of patent and trademark applications. For the first time the USPTO met 100 percent of its Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) goals. The results are contained in the USPTO’s FY 2008 Performance and Accountability Report, which was released to the public today.
“Our exceptional performance reflects the hard work and dedication of the USPTO management team and most importantly, the more than 9,500 bright, quality-focused and results-driven USPTO employees,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. “Their perseverance in sustaining high performance for the USPTO will carry the agency into the future and continue to help strengthen the IP system for years to come.”
Patents – Optimizing Patent Quality and Timeliness
In FY 2008, USPTO met and, in some cases, exceeded its patent pendency, production, and quality targets. Patents maintained a high level of patent quality by achieving an allowance compliance rate of 96.3 percent, exceeding its goal.
- Patents increased production by an additional 14 percent over FY 2007 by examining 448,003 applications—the highest number in history. Production has increased by 38.6 percent over the past four years, compared to a 21.3 percent increase in application filings during the same period.
- Patents received a record number of utility patent applications filed electronically (332,617), and achieved a record rate (72.1 percent) of applications filed electronically as well.
- Patents achieved an average first action pendency of 25.6 months and an average total pendency of 32.2 months.
- Patents received 1,765 patent application filings through the Accelerated Examination Program, 173 percent more than in the program’s introductory year of FY 2007. A 12-month or less pendency rate was also maintained for every application, with an average time to final action or allowance of 186 days.
Trademarks – Optimizing Trademark Quality and Timeliness
For the third year in a row, USPTO met or exceeded all of its performance goals for trademarks as well.
- Trademarks ended its year with first action pendency at three months. Trademarks has maintained its first action pendency within the 2.5 to 3.5 month range for more than 18 months, a historic first. Disposal pendency was also maintained at record low levels, ending the year with 11.8 months pendency for cases without inter partes or suspended cases and at 13.9 months for all disposals. This disposal pendency is the lowest in 20 years.
- This year saw a record number of applications filed electronically—approximately 268,000 applications comprising 390,000 classes. This represented a record rate of filing; 96.9 percent of all applications were filed electronically.
- Quality remained high throughout the year with a first action compliance rate of 95.8 percent and a final action compliance rate of 97.2 percent. Both measures exceeded performance expectations.
Improving IP Protection and Enforcement
- The USPTO worked more closely in FY 2008 with its international counterpart offices than ever before. The agency hosted the follow-up to the 2007 Heads of Office meeting for the five largest IP offices (Europe, Japan, Korea, China, and the United States) to discuss further cooperative initiatives to meet the growing patent application filing demands and improve patent quality.
- The USPTO’s Global Intellectual Property Academy trained more than 4,100 foreign officials on best practices for strengthening IP rights and enforcement in their nations.
Achieving Organizational Excellence
- The USPTO continues to be recognized as the leader in federal government telework initiatives through its award-winning programs. At the end of FY 2008, 54 percent of USPTO’s employees were eligible to participate in one of 20 different telework programs across the agency. Among those employees who were eligible to telework, nearly 83 percent chose to do so.
Full results of the agency’s progress can be found in USPTO’s FY 2008 Performance and Accountability Report at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/annual/2008/2008annualreport.pdf.