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Boston Patent Law Association Slide Set (HTML text version)

Boston Patent Law Association

Joseph Rolla
Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy

Application Filings and Examiner Production

UPR Applications Filed

  [  D ]
FY 05 plan 375,080 (5.5% above FY 04)
FY 05 actual 384,228 (8.1% above FY04)
2.6% over plan

Production

  FY 04 FY 05 Target FY 05
UPR 1 FAOM 2 288,315 297,614 297,287
UPR Disposals 3 287,188 295,456 279,345
UPR Production Units 4 287,752 296,535 288,316
PCT Production Units 5 16,882 22,916 15,147

1 “UPR” = Utility, Plant, and Reissue Applications.
2 “FAOM” = First Action on the Merits – first action count by an examiner after the filing of an application (does not include restrictions or other miscellaneous actions).
3 “Disposal” = An examiner allowance, abandonment, or disposals following a board decision.
4 “Production Unit” = First action count plus disposal count divided by 2.
5 “PCT” = Patent Cooperation Treaty. PCT applications are processed differently and tracked separately from US National stage applications. For FY 05, 15,147 PU's is 35,389 processed applications.

PENDENCY. . . vs the Backlog

Patent Pendency (as of 1/1/2006)

Technology Center Average 1 st Action Pendency (months) 1 Average Total Pendency (months) 2
1600 - Biotechnology and Organic Chemistry 23.3 33.5
1700 - Chemical and Materials Engineering 20.6 29.8
2100 - Computer Architecture Software and Information Security 33.1 44.8
2600 – Communications 31.2 43.9
2800 - Semiconductor, Electrical, Optical Systems 15.0 25.0
3600 - Transportation, Construction, Electronic Commerce 19.8 27.5
3700 - Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing and Products 18.6 26.6
UPR Total (as of 10/1/2005) 21.8 30.6

1 “Average 1st action pendency” is the average age from filing to first action for a newly filed application, completed during October-December 2005.
2 “Average total pendency” is the average age from filing to issue or abandonment of a newly filed application, completed during October-December 2005.

First Action Pendency by Art Areas

High Pendency Art Areas Pendency 1 (months) Low Pendency Art Areas Pendency 1 (months)
1640 – Immunology, Receptor/ Ligands, Cytokines, Recombinant Hormones, and Molecular Biology 27.7 1620 – Heterocyclic Compounds and Uses 16.9
1743 – Analytic Chemistry & Wave Energy 30.8 1752 – Radiation Imagery 12.1
2123 – Simulation and Modeling, Emulation of Computer Components 39.7 2125 – Manufacturing Control Systems and Chemical/ Mechanical/Electrical Control 20.0
2617 – Interactive Video Distribution 50.4 2651 – Dynamic Information Storage & Retrieval 16.1
2836 – Control Circuits 24.3 2833 – Electrical Connectors 8.8
3628 – Finance & Banking, Accounting 52.1 3612 – Land Vehicles 12.0
3731 – Surgery: Cutting, Clamping, Suturing 30.9 3723 – Tools & Metal Working 10.9

1 “Average 1st action pendency” is the average age from filing to first action for a newly filed application, completed during October-December 2005.

Inventory by Art Examples

High Inventory Art Areas Months of Inventory* Low Inventory Art Areas Months of Inventory*
1614, 1615, and 1617 – Drugs, Bio-affecting and Body Treatment 38-51 1620 – Organic Chemistry 15
1753 – Radiation Imagery 34 1734 – Adhesive Bonding and Coating Apparatus 10
2127 – Computer Task Management 46 2125 – Manufacturing Control Systems and Chemical/ Mechanical/Electrical Control 10
2611 – Interactive Video Distribution 114 2651, 2653 – Information Storage and Retrieval 12
2836 – Control Circuits 22 2831 – Electrical Conductors 8
3620 – Business Methods 22-136 3651 – Conveying 12
3731 and 3737 – Medical Instruments, Diagnostic Equipment 38-47 3742 – Thermal and Combustion Technology 8

*The number of months it would take to reach a first action on the merits (e.g., an action addressing patentability issues) on a new application filed in July 2005 at today's production rate. Today's production rate means that there are no changes in production due to hiring, attrition, changes to examination processing or examination efficiencies, and that applications are taken up in the order of filing in the given art unit/area. Of course, USPTO is taking aggressive steps to ensure changes that will significantly lower the inventory rates in high-inventory art areas.

TC Application Inventory

  1600 1700 2100 2600 2800 3600 3700 Total* Design
New Applications 1 9/30/2004 55,402 63,923 71,778 97,380 77,651 56,738 65,005 508,878 18,451
New Applications 1 9/30/2005 62,644 72,697 76,529 115,585 94,425 70,354 83,225 586,580 24,534
Overall Pending Applications 2 9/30/2004 95,006 105,447 102,440 138,822 137,458 101,097 108,039 809,323 27,599
Overall Pending Applications 2 9/30/2005 107,647 120,767 117,728 167,721 159,687 117,045 130,168 932,300 38,104

1 “New Application inventory” is the number of new applications designated or assigned to a technology center awaiting a first action.
2 “Overall Pending Application inventory” is the total number of applications designated or assigned to a technology center in an active status. Includes new applications; rejected awaiting response; amended; under appeal or interference; suspended; reexams and allowed applications awaiting grant publication.
*Total inventory includes applications not assigned to a particular TC, awaiting processing either pre- or post-examination.

Patent Quality (Shared Responsibility)

Quality of Products – FY 05

Fiscal Year 2005
  FY 04 1600 1700 2100 2600 2800 3600 3700 Design FY 05 FY 05 Target
Patent In-Process Examination Compliance Rate 1 * 82.0% 81.7% 82.9% 88.1% 84.7% 90.9% 84.4% 86.6% 94.3% 86.2% 84.0%
Patent Allowance Error Rate 2 * 5.32% 4.88% 6.46% 3.56% 2.25% 4.43% 4.94% 6.43% 1.6% 4.55% 4.0%

*Compliance and error rates as measured by OPQA.
1 Compliance is the percent of office actions reviewed and found to be free of any in-process examination deficiency (an error that has significant adverse impact on patent prosecution).
2 Patent allowance error rate is the percent of allowed applications reviewed having at least one claim which is considered unpatentable on a basis for which a court would hold a patent invalid. “Allowance” occurs before a patent is issued, so these errors are caught before any patent is actually granted.

Re-Work

Technology Centers Rework* Statistics

  FY 2002 FY 2003 FY 2004 FY 2005
TC Summary % FAOM Rework % FAOM Rework % FAOM Rework % FAOM Rework
1600 36.4% 39.7% 40.3% 42.4%
1700 25.2% 26.9% 27.1% 28.0%
2100 23.9% 24.0% 24.6% 28.2%
2600 24.8% 24.1% 24.3% 25.4%
2800 19.1% 22.0% 24.9% 24.1%
3600 17.7% 21.2% 23.1% 28.5%
3700 22.2% 25.1% 24.0% 28.1%
UPR 23.2% 25.3% 26.1% 28.3%

* Rework first actions are those actions that are in a Continuing (CONs and CIPs), RCE, CPA or 129(a) applications (excludes Divisionals).

Hiring and Retention

Hires and Attritions

  1600 1700 2100 2600 2800 3600 3700 Corps Design
FY 04 Hires 75 35 115 116 31 26 45 443 15
FY 04 Attritions 30 26 58 82 58 43 39 336 4
FY 05 BOY Examiner Staff 417 440 563 658 742 422 439 3681 72
FY 05 Hiring (10/1/05) 101 58 225 169 184 91 131 959 19
FY 05 Attrits (10/1/05) 42 39 93 92 54 55 50 425 10
FY 05 Hiring Goal 100 35 200 150 160 90 125 860 20
New Hires as a Percent of Examiner Staffing in the TC 24% 13% 40% 26% 25% 22% 30% 26% 26%

Stats and Stuff

Distribution of the Number of References Cited in Applications

Distribution of the Number of References Cited in Applications Graph [  D ]  

Total Continuation Filing Rates

Total Continuation Filing Rates Graph [  D ]  
*Straight Continuations 37 CFR §1.53 (b)(1) – No Divisionals or CIPs – as of 10/23/05

Distribution of Independent Claims at Filing

 Distribution of Independent Claims at Filing [  D ]

Distribution of Total Claims at Filing

 Distribution of Total Claims at Filing [  D ]

Total Claims at Filing and Issue

 Total Claims at Filing and Issue Graph [  D ]

Pendency Projections

Pendency Reduction Action Plan Graph

 Pendency Reduction Action Plan [  D ] Pendency Projections Graph [  D ]  Pendency Reduction Action Plan Graph [  D ]  Pendency Reduction Action Plan Graph [  D ]  Pendency graph [  D ]  

Production
You Can't Hire Your Way Out of This One

 Production Graph [  D ]

Markush Practice

  1. A cell adhesion protein of formula (1),
    A-(B)-(C)-(D)n-E
    or a pharmaceutically acceptable derivative thereof , wherein . . .

Accelerated Examination
Would You Like Your Patent In 12 Months ?!?

Accelerated Examination

  • Features of the proposed revision:
  • Move to the head of the line
  • Final Disposition within 12 months
    • Program for expedited Issuance of Patents
  • e-file application and all follow on papers
  • Single Invention
  • Limited Number of Claims
  • Patentability Report
  • Possible Interview before 1 st Action
  • Shortened Statutory Period
  • Enforcement of special status in the Corps

 

Contact Information

Joseph Rolla

Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy

e-mail:  joseph.rolla@uspto.gov

Phone: 571 272 8800

United States Patent and Trademark Office
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Last Modified: 9/28/2009 2:37:14 PM