Beginning this year, the USPTO will no longer release an annual list of top 10 organizations receiving the most U.S. patents. The 2006 data will be available in April in the annual "Patenting by Organizations" report on the agency's web site (www.uspto.gov). This report profiles U.S. patents granted to U.S. and international organizations receiving 40 or more patents each year.
In ceasing publication of the top 10 list, the USPTO is emphasizing quality over quantity by discouraging any perception that we believe more is better.
For the past four years USPTO has focused on the quality of the patents it issues. We are now seeing the results of those efforts. Last year patent quality was the best in over 20 years, and the agency also had the lowest rate of patents approved in more than 30 years.
Over the past four years the USPTO has implemented numerous programs to enhance the quality of patent examination. These include:
rigorous in-process and end-process reviews of examiners' work and written certification and recertification examinations to ensure examiners remain up-to-speed on patent law, practice and procedure.
increasing the number of "second-pair-of-eyes" reviews of initial decisions to grant patents.
implementing eight-month university-style training programs to teach patent examination coursework to new examiners in a collegial and collaborative environment.
establishing a unit of patent examiners solely devoted to reexamining patents for which evidence raising a substantial new question of patentability is found after the patent is granted.
improving the quality of USPTO work life to attract the best pool of new patent examiners by offering opportunities to work from home.
implementing electronic processing of patent applications to make the patent examination process more efficient and effective.
Deputy Director of Public Affairs