On January 31, 2011, the White House announced the launch of the Startup America initiative and noted that the Department of Commerce was “finalizing a plan to allow entrepreneurs to request faster review of their patents, an initiative that should lower patent pendency times overall and speed the deployment of new ideas to the marketplace.
Once the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues a Final Rejection, a patent applicant is faced with an important decision regarding what to do next. Options include: filing a Notice of Appeal, filing a Request for Continued Examination (RCE), filing an after final response or amendment, or abandoning the application.
From 2008 to 2012, the percentage of examiner interviews conducted for U.S. patent applications nearly doubled from about 15 to 30%. In 2012, 90% of applications in which examiner interviews were conducted were allowed, compared to a 61% allowance rate for patents in which no interviews were conducted. These trends have continued.
More than 30 years ago when I started my career as a patent examiner in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there was a common phrase that went something like this: “Patents are not valid until they are litigated.”
Last year saw 5,769 new patent suits filed in federal district courts, representing a 15% increase over the previous year, with non-practicing entities (NPEs) filing two out of every three of these suits.
In my March 2014 column (“Compact Prosecution,” pp. 9-10), I discussed how U.S. patent applicants resorted to filing requests for continued examination (RCE) applications as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stayed the course on compact prosecution.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) September 7, 2010, Director’s Form: A Blog from USPTO’s Leadership addressed the then current backlog of more than 700,000 applications, efforts to reduce pendency and factors that contribute to examination delays.