Great Progress on Goals
Special Guest Blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Bob Stoll
Traditional first action pendency declined again to an average of 24.9 months for November from 25.4 months in October. In addition, traditional total pendency decreased from an average of 35.3 months to 34.9 months. The Patent Business Unit is currently focusing on reducing first action pendency in order to achieve the overall pendency and backlog goals, and recent results have already reflected this focus. Our ability to achieve these goals may be impacted by several factors, including: application filings, which may be largely driven by the economy; improvements in process efficiencies and elimination of redundancies; the retention rate of examiners; our ability to outsource foreign (PCT) applications processing; use of overtime; and our ability to hire new examiners. The timing and interaction of these factors have significant impact on our long-term goals, and greatly affect our interim result at any given time.
Overall, though, in looking at the November 2010 data, it is important to remember that many of statistics on the dashboard are displayed as fiscal year averages. Since it is the second month of the new fiscal year, it is not uncommon to see a slight dip in some of the numbers. For example, the UPR allowance rate is a fiscal year average and historically there is a drop in this rate at the beginning of each fiscal year.
The backlog of applications awaiting first office action by examiners increased this month to 719,176. Historically, we see similar growth in the backlog at the start of each fiscal year. Preliminary UPR filing data through November shows that 79,878 applications have been received by the Office, versus 74,381 over the same time last year. The successful Green Technology program continues to show strong growth. Total petitions received to date have increased to 1,761, with an overall approval rate of 52.7%. In addition, 120 patents have been issued under this program.
As always, we will continue to respond to the needs of our stakeholders by enhancing the information available and making adjustments to improve the user experience.