ETA External Outreach

The USPTO is soliciting public feedback in an effort to conduct a comprehensive study of examination time. The overall effort is called the Examination Time Analysis (ETA).

Examination time goals vary by technology and represent the average amount of time that a patent examiner is expected to spend examining a patent application in a particular technology. The Office plans to use the public feedback as an input to help ensure that the Office’s examination time goals accurately reflect the amount of time needed by examiners to conduct quality examination in a manner that responds to stakeholders’ interests.

The USPTO’s Request for Comments on Examination Time Goals Federal Register Notice is available here (link is external).

Comments and answers received in response to the Federal Register Notice can be viewed here.

How to help

The Office has generated the following list of questions concerning examination time goals to further inform comments. Responders can choose to address as many of the questions as desired. Responders are not limited to submitting information addressing the questions. The Office welcomes any other comments on the topic of this RFC that may be informative, for example those that facilitate an understanding of the interests of stakeholders with respect to quality, pendency, and cost for services. A further area of inquiry seeks to shed light on other characteristics of patent applications, besides technological complexity, which lead to a more time-consuming examination.

To help inform public comments, the Office has prepared background material illustrating the use of examination time goals in the context of individual examiner evaluation, and as an input into the model used to forecast pendency and hiring needs.

To be ensured of consideration, written comments must be received on or before January 30, 2017.  (Note - The comment period initially announced in the FRN was extended.)


IdeaScale is a Web-based collaboration tool allowing you to post comments on examination time goals, and view and respond to comments made by others.


Interactive roundtables will be conducted in Alexandria, Virginia; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and San Jose, California.  The roundtable previously scheduled on December 15th in Detroit, Michigan is canceled.

DatePlaceLocal TimeRegister By
11/14/16Alexandria, VA*9:00 - 11:00 am11/7/16
11/29/16Dallas, TX10:00 am - 12:00 pm11/22/16
12/15/16Denver, CO10:00 am - 12:00 pm12/8/16
01/11/17San Jose, CA1:00 - 3:00 pm1/4/17

*WebEx online option available

Additional information, including location information, is available in the USPTO's Invitation to Participate in Roundtables on Examination Time.

Registration for this event is closed.