Continuing Patent Applications and Performance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as of Fiscal Year 2018
Richmond School of Law Intellectual Property Institute Research Paper No. 2019-01
24 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019 Last revised: 22 May 2019
Date Written: May 20, 2019
This study is the tenth in a succession of studies of the impact of continuing patent applications on USPTO performance. It presents and analyzes data from United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Annual Reports and a from a series of FOIA requests for the period from 1973 through 2018 (1980 through 2018 for UPR Allowance Rates/Grant Rates, 1983 through 2018 for Abandoned Applications and Application Disposals).
Examination performance of the USPTO continued to decline in FY 2018 as UPR Application Allowance Rates/Grant Rates corrected for Refiled Continuing Applications reached a record 100%, exceeding the previous record 99% in FY 2001. The number of Applications Allowed (334,799) and Patents Issued (308,631) remained near record levels.
The number of Refiled Continuing Applications (274,629), which are reworked for the USPTO, approached the number of Original and Divisional Applications (323,129) and comprised 46% of the total number of applications filed in FY 2018. Abolition of Refiled Continuing Applications would eliminate this rework and increase the resources available for examination of Original and Divisional applications by as much as 85% without any increase in staff or budget.
The number of Abandoned Applications that were Refiled (185,880) was more than double the number of Abandoned Applications that were Not Refiled (90,297), and the number of Applications Allowed (334,799) was more than three and one-half times the number of Applications Abandoned Without Refiling (90,297). UPR Application Backlogs declined slightly.
Keywords: Patent, USPTO, Application, Continuation, RCE, Backlog, United States Patent
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