Quality metrics

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) considers 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. To support the issuance of quality patents, the USPTO aims to deliver quality work products that include appropriate and clear patentability determinations for every pending claim throughout prosecution. With a focus on continuous quality improvement, the USPTO is committed to assessing the quality of its work products and processes and identifying metrics that help provide a thorough understanding of this quality. This quality metrics approach includes a focus on: (1) statutory compliance measures; (2) process measures; (3) perception measures.

Compliance measures

As part of the USPTO’s quality assurance efforts, each Technology Center (TC) has supervisors and TC reviewers who conduct numerous quality reviews of work products each year for evaluations of employee quality as well as to provide coaching and mentoring based on their findings. In addition to these TC reviews, the Office of Patent Quality Assurance (OPQA) audits a random sample of work products each fiscal year. The results from the OPQA random reviews are used to generate the USPTO’s statutory compliance measures.


Process measures

The USPTO’s quality metrics also include process measures that assist the agency in tracking the efficiency and consistency of the examination processes. With respect to the examination process, the USPTO’s current focus is on preventing reopening of prosecution, reducing rework, and ensuring consistency of decision-making. The USPTO does not set consistency targets for particular transactions, but instead focuses on conducting a root-cause analysis on the trends and behaviors to either capture identified best practices or correct issues, as appropriate.


Perception measures

The USPTO has conducted both internal and external stakeholder perception surveys semi-annually since 2006. The results of these surveys are a vital quality indicator and they are useful for validating other USPTO quality related metrics. For example, the results of the external perception surveys assure alignment of the data underlying our metrics and our stakeholders’ perceptions and assure that the quality metrics we report are useful for our stakeholders.






We want your feedback

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