Patent Pendency Model



The Patent Pendency Model (PPM) is a Simulation Tool that predicts patent production output based on actual historical data and input assumptions. The model uses historical patterns in funding, staffing and pendency. The model uses an interactive spreadsheet to make calculations and to create graphs of predicted outcomes.


Important Note: The figures included are for simulation purposes and are representative, but should not be considered official data.


Model Inputs

The Patent Pendency Model is based on the manpower effort devoted to examination, estimated of volume of applications coming to the PTO, and estimates related to RCE filings.


  • "Hires" is the number of patent hires for that fiscal year.
  • "OT Worked" is the over time worked which is estimated at 100 hours/fiscal year.
  • "Examiner Attrition Rate" is the percentage of examiners from the total patent corps that leave the examination corps per fiscal year.

Filing Estimates

  • "Annual % Filing Change" is the projections of annual patent application filings are based upon forecasts and consensus judgments about the future.

RCE Filings

  • "Reduction of % RCE filings" is an estimate that is made based on data collected in all TC's.

Model Outputs

The key outputs of the model are the "Application Backlog," or the total number of unexamined applications in inventory at the end of the fiscal year, and "Backlog Firepower," which is a ratio of first actions compared to filings (if the number is more than 100 percent, there is reduction in the backlog).

The model also demonstrates how different inputs affect first action pendency and total pendency. The model looks at two measures of pendency-the traditional measure when the clock re-starts for RCEs and a second measure where the clock continues for RCEs.

Modeling Key Relationships

The usefulness of the model is in the visual presentation of data over a seven year time frame. The graph is the major output mechanism of the model. By changing the input variables it is possible to see the changes in backlog, pendency and First Stage throughput.

There are several basic relationships among the patent model elements that control the outputs. These include the following:

* The number of overtime production units that can be done by patent examiners varies in direct proportion to the amount of overtime funding available.

* The number of first actions in relation to the number of applications received determines generally how pendency to first action will change.

* The number of patents obligated (sent to the contractors) for printing and actually printed (issued) in a year is driven by the number of examiner disposals.

* The number of first actions will generally tend to be higher relative to disposals during years of extensive examiner hiring. New examiners are generally given new cases to work on, while amended dockets of attriting examiners tend to be given to more senior examiners for handling.