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Correctness Measures

Our measures of correctness, in combination with our measures of clarity, define the product indicators of the quality in our work products, which are the Office actions written by examiners that prosecute patent applications.  While how we measure clarity continues to be developed for metrics purposes, correctness is readily measured in our work products today.

We consider a quality patent to be one that is correctly issued in compliance with all the requirements of Title 35 as well as the relevant case law at the time of issuance.  Thus it follows that a statutorily compliant Office action, which are the framework of USPTO’s patent prosecution, includes all applicable rejections and in every asserted rejection, sufficient evidence to support a conclusion of unpatentability is provided.

Our correctness measures provide statutory compliance rates for 35 U.S.C. 101, 35 U.S.C. 112, 35 U.S.C. 102, and 35 U.S.C. 103.  We quantitate these measures using data from reviews on randomly-selected Office actions conducted by the Office of Patent Quality, OPQA, using the Master Review FormMRF.  Office actions of various types (non-final rejections, final rejections, and allowances) are considered from all technologies.

With these measures being defined late in FY16, we set target ranges in FY17, and based on our accomplishments in FY17, we have set FY18 statutory compliance targets.

 

Statute
 

FY17 Statutory 
Compliance Targets

FY17 Statutory
Compliance Rates

 
FY18 Statutory
Compliance Targets

 
35 U.S.C. 101 93-98% 96.5% >97%
35 U.S.C. 112 87-92% 92.6% >93%
35 U.S.C. 102 90-95% 94.5% >95%
35 U.S.C. 103 88-93% 92.4% >93%
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Calculation for Statutory Compliance

Statutory Compliance for a Given Statute

=

(Total Reviews – Reviews Indicating Non-Compliance)
                                     Total Reviews

where Reviews Indicating Non-Compliance are reviews identifying an omitted rejection for a statute PLUS reviews identifying an improper rejection for that statute.

For these calculations, the total number of relevant reviews is constant for each statute.  An Office action that does not reject a claim under a given statute is considered to be compliant as long as the reviewer does not identify an omitted rejection. 

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101 Compliance Metrics

Our 35 U.S.C. 101 statutory compliance metric is based on reviews assessing patent eligibility as well as utility.  As described above in the section on the calculation of statutory compliance, an Office action that does not reject a claim under a given statute is considered to be compliant as long as the reviewer does not identify an omitted rejection.  For example, the overall compliance metric for 35 U.S.C. 101 includes, as a compliant Office action, many Office actions from technologies that are clearly patent eligible under current law, such as mechanical devices, because no 35 U.S.C. 101 rejection was made and no rejection was warranted.  Moreover, an Office action with a compliance issue in patent eligibility as well as utility would be recorded as a single review indicating non-compliance since both issues are considered under the 101 statutory compliance metric

Detailed 35 U.S.C. 101 statutory compliance metrics are available on our Data Visualization Center in the Patents Dashboard under Quality Data.

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112 Compliance Metrics

Our 35 U.S.C. 112 statutory compliance metric is based on reviews assessing patentability under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) written description, 35 U.S.C. 112(a) enablement, and 35 U.S.C. 112(b), including as these sections relate to 35 U.S.C. 112(f) limitations.  As described above in the section on the calculation of statutory compliance, an Office action that does not reject a claim under a given statute is considered to be compliant as long as the reviewer does not identify an omitted rejection.  As such, the statutory compliance metric for 35 U.S.C. 112 includes, as a compliant Office action, any Office action in which no 35 U.S.C. 112 rejection was made and no rejection was warranted.  Moreover, an Office action with a compliance issue in written description as well as enablement would be recorded as a single review indicating non-compliance since both issues are considered under the 112 statutory compliance metric. 

Detailed 35 U.S.C. 112 statutory compliance metrics are available on our Data Visualization Center in the Patents Dashboard under Quality Data.

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Prior Art Compliance Metrics

Our prior art statutory compliance metrics are based on reviews assessing patentability under 35 U.S.C. 102 and 35 U.S.C. 103.  Though both are statutes considering prior art, metrics for 35 U.S.C. 102 for anticipation and 35 U.S.C. 103 for obviousness are reported separately.  As described above in the section on the calculation of statutory compliance, an Office action that does not reject a claim under a given statute is considered to be compliant as long as the reviewer does not identify an omitted rejection.  As such, the statutory compliance metric for 35 U.S.C. 102 includes, as a compliant Office action, any Office action in which no 35 U.S.C. 102 rejection was made and no rejection was warranted.  Similarly, the statutory compliance metric for 35 U.S.C. 103 includes, as a compliant Office action, any Office action in which no 35 U.S.C. 103 rejection was made and no rejection was warranted.  An Office action with compliance issues in 102 as well as 103 would be recorded as a single review indicating non-compliance under each statute.  Such a review would be identified as a review indicating non-compliance in the calculation for the 102 compliance metric and in the calculation for the 103 compliance metric.

Detailed 35 U.S.C. 102 statutory compliance metrics and 35 U.S.C. 103 statutory compliance metrics are available on our Data Visualization Center in the Patents Dashboard under Quality Data.

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We Want Your Feedback

If you have questions or comments about Quality Metrics at the USPTO, please send an email to QualityMetrics@uspto.gov.  For general inquiries about patent quality, email PatentQuality@uspto.gov

Return to Quality Metrics at USPTO.

Learn about USPTO efforts to continuously increase patent quality.

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