USPTO Meets or Exceeds its FY2011 Goals

Patent Backlog Reaches Lowest Level in Five Years; Trademarks Exceeds All Goals
Press Release

CONTACT: (Media Only)
Peter Pappas or Jennifer Rankin Byrne
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Washington- The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today some preliminary statistics for the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. In both Patents and Trademarks, many of the agency's goals were achieved or exceeded.

The USPTO ended the fiscal year with its lowest patent backlog number in five years. As of the close of FY11, the backlog of unexamined patent applications was reduced to 669,625. This represents a 10 percent reduction in the backlog since USPTO Director David Kappos took office in FY09, even with an average annual increase of patent application filings of 5 percent.

"I am pleased with the progress we have made in reducing the agency's enormous backlog of unexamined applications and in shortening wait times," said David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. "We have really begun to make headway, and this is an important step forward in reinventing the patent system so that it can meet the needs of innovators in a timely manner, helping bring innovations to the marketplace faster and creating jobs for the American people."

The Trademarks organization also met or exceeded all FY11 goals for quality, pendency and e-Government. Notably, the UPSTO'S new "Excellent Office Action" quality measure identifying initial Office actions that are of excellent quality in every respect - including error-free decision making, clarity in the written action, appropriate evidence, and a proper search for conflicting marks - came in at 23.6 percent of all actions reviewed, handily beating the goal of 15 percent. In addition, Trademarks continued to meet all of its goals for timely reviewing and completing examination on applications, for correct decision making by examiners, and for electronic filing and processing of applications.

USPTO's goal to clear the oldest patent applications was embraced across the examining corps which processed 257,642 of the oldest pending applications through first Office action, exceeding its FY2011 goal by more than 20,000 applications.

"A special thanks to Commissioners Bob Stoll and Debbie Cohn, the Patents and Trademarks teams, and everyone at the USPTO for their role in these achievements," Kappos remarked. "I look forward to continued success in the new fiscal year."

Additional data will be made available in the agency's performance and accountability report, which will be released in mid-November.

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