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USPTO Backlog: Patent Pendency Out of Control


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: April 22, 2009 @ 7:43 pm
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The average pendency of U.S. patent applications is out of control.  Everyone involved in the industry knows this to be true, but it might be easy to forget just how bad it is at times.  Like so many patent attorneys and agents, I did not practice during the Reagan years.  While I have over 10 years of experience as a patent attorney, that means I did not start practicing until President Clinton was already in his second term, and the Patent Office was already in decline.  During my professional life I have not known a Patent Office that could issue a patent on average in 18 months.  When Ronald Reagan became President he wanted to revitalize the Patent Office, and he successfully accomplished that goal by bringing the average pendency of patent applications down to 18 months.  As you can see from the chart below, this lasted (for the most part) through the Administration of President George H. W. Bush, and almost through the Clinton first term, and then something went horribly bad for the Patent Office, which means that whoever is the next Director of the Patent Office will need to fix a problem that has been brewing for at least 14 years.

The above chart has as its baseline 18 months, which I believe most would believe is about as good as you can reasonably do in terms of an average pendency.  If we can do better, great, but that should be considered the goal; and unfortunately it is a long term goal given the failures of the last 14 years.  What is perhaps even more alarming is that average time it takes to even get an examiner to issue a First Office Action on the Merits (FOAM).  For the last several years in addition to publishing the average total pendency the USPTO has also published the average time it takes to receive an action on the merits, which is represented by the table below:

What this table shows is that the average time it takes to get a first action on the merits is greater than the average time it took to get a patent issued just 10 years ago, and the average time it takes to get a first action is approaching 8 months longer than the optimal time to complete the entire patent process if you believe 18 months to issuance on average should be the goal.  This is absolutely ridiculous!

This is a problem that will only continue to get worse for the foreseeable future, given the budget crisis facing the USPTO has force a hiring freeze, and given the almost unbelievable growth in the number of patent applications awaiting first action and the number of applications still pending (see charts below).

This is particularly disturbing for entrepreneurs and start-up companies who attempt to get funding from investors.  For better or for worse, investors are not always able to make their own independent judgments with respect to the quality of an underlying technology that is the basis for a start-up company.  What this means is that investors typically look for other ways to gauge whether the underlying technology is sound, including looking to the United States Patent Office for some kind of independent verification from a neutral party regarding the merits of the technology.  While the Patent Office cannot and does not vouch for commercial feasibility, when you obtain a patent it should be at least some evidence that the technology or innovation included in the application is unique to some level, at least based on the references that could reasonably be obtained with a competent patent search.

The minute you file a patent application, even a provisional patent application, you have created an asset.  Like other forms of assets, not all patent assets are created equally.  The further you go down the path toward obtaining a patent the more valuable the asset is, and an issued patent, no matter how weak, will be preferable to a pending patent application.  Once a patent issues the underlying technology has received a government stamp of approval as unique, at least to some degree.  Likewise, once a patent has issued the likelihood that additional patents can be obtained as a result of various related patent applications goes up.  But until you get that critical first patent finding funding can be difficult, if not altogether impossible.  Thus, if we really want to help small businesses and start-up companies succeed we are going to have to find a way to get the first patent in a patent family issued relatively quickly.  We can take longer, if necessary, on the remaining related patents, but the first patent must issue quickly.  Obviously it would be most ideal to have all patents issue as quickly as possible, but that first patent needs to issue with all due speed.

Stay tuned for strategies!  I am always thinking and have a few gems (or at least I think they are gems) in store for later this week or early next week.

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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, US Economy, USPTO

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

25 comments
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  1. Your politicization of patent pendency seems inapposite. It is more likely that loss of examiners during the early 1990’s to private practice and changes in patentable subject matter in the 1990’s to include business methods and software had a greater effect when added to the increase in total filings.

  2. R Stitt-

    Quite clearly I am not trying to politicize patent pendency, just reporting the facts here. If you think this post makes a political statement then I suspect it is because you are projecting. I document problems during the Clinton years, which carried over into the Bush years. I have been very hard on the Obama Administration since Obama has been President, but my writings over the last 2 years of the Bush Administration about how poorly Dudas was running the Office are well known. I am not at all trying to make this a Republican vs. Democrat issue. Regardless of who is in power, at least since Reagan, it seems that the USPTO has been seen as an unimportant post.

    I am not sure about what caused the problems that seem to have started in about 1995, but my suspicion is that it has to do with the increasing complexity of computer related devices, among many other things.

    -Gene

  3. Valid assessment. Well put.

  4. Gene:

    Please define Total Pendency as used in your post. Is it from filing to either issuance or abandonment (which results from filing and RCE)? I believe the situation is worse then you show. This is based on over 35 years experience prosecuting patent applications. It is necessary to also look at the RCE filings after final rejection. The true measure of change since 1989 would the time from first claimed filing date to issuance. As I have said many times int he past, this also is relevent to the 42% allowance rate which does not take into account the fact that there is a significant increase in the filing of 1 or 2 RCE’s to gain allowance. I have a feeling that true average pendency is 4-5 years before a patent issues or the applicant gives up. Also take a look at the significant increase in Appeal filings because applicant’s are totally frustrated with the refusal of examiners to isue a Notice of Allowance.

  5. As someone very familiar with the PTO, I can understand the frustration from many inventors and attorneys alike for the patent pendency problem, but you are publishing known data that trends upward until Fiscal Year 2008. With the new patent filings steadily declining, the backlog and pendency problem should begin to improve. At the moment, paid overtime for examiners has been greatly reduced, but if the fiscal year budget can stabilize during the next few years (taking into account that a hiring freeze will remain in effect and a certain percentage of attrition will continue), such paid overtime should once again be increased. Paid overtime is the PTO’s best “bang-for-the-buck” when it comes to paying for examining hours. If that happens and filings continue to decline, the average pendency will be lowered in many of the examining areas, especially in such areas relating to manufacturing or mechanical arts. I recommend posting the published pendency numbers a year from now, and see where they have gone. To say the pendency is “out of control” at the present time makes it seem as though it’s getting worse at this very instant, which is actually untrue. Such an article would probably have been more appropriate say a year or two ago.

  6. Mike-

    The Total Pendency figure is one reported by the USPTO, and relates to the average time from the most recent filing date, so I think it is fair to say that for many inventions the true average from priority filing to actual issuance is significantly higher.

    I personally have an application in class 705 on my own invention. Provisional filed in August 2004, Nonprovisional filed in August 2005, no office action yet. I am not expecting one for at least another couple years, and have reason to suspect that I will not get a first office action for at least another 3 or 4 years.

    -Gene

  7. Mike-

    I have to completely disagree with you when you say that pendency is not getting worse. It most certainly is getting worse. While fewer applications are being filed, there is no hiring and there is still attrition. When FY 2009 numbers are reported I have every confidence that the total awaiting first action will be higher, as will the total pending, as will the average pendency. Between losing examiners and not replacing them, cutting overtime and cutting performance bonus it will only get worse, far worse.

    Since President Reagan there have been bonuses for examiners who achieve 130%, 120% and 110% of production goals. Because quality review punishes “alleged errors” few if any examiners are trying to reach those levels because if you reach those levels and quality review says you made errors then you wouldn’t get the bonus anyway, so why try to reach that level only to not get a bonus. This is disturbing because quality review is not conducted by those knowledgeable about the technical area. This is an enormous problem and all but guarantees that things are getting much, much worse.

    -Gene

  8. I’m not trying to politicize this, since it has now happened under both D and R administrations.

    I see the problems at the PTO starting when PTO commissioners stopped being recruited from the patent bar (ex-chief patent counsels or law firm partners) and started coming from Congressional staffs of those on the “right” committees.

  9. Almost criminal! Those bunch of almost crooks! Isn’t that right Gene? :)

    Seriously though, isn’t it less of a problem “with the office” and more with the total number of apps filed?

  10. 6-

    Absolutely not. Assuming you do actually work for the USPTO, which I certainly hope is not the case, it is unbelievable that you would voice concern over the number of applications filed. You work for the PATENT OFFICE! You should expect PATENT APPLICATIONS to be filed! Patents are the driving force of our economic engine, and it is truly sad to think that anyone could work in the USPTO and not understand that simple factual truth.

    -Gene

  11. Gene, you have to understand, 6K has been brought up in the “We can’t!” mentality of the politicized PTO (“We can’t because it’s easier for us if we don’t, so take a hike applicant!”).

    6K, there are SO many things you all could do to increase your efficiency. Let’s take the search for a very simple example, EAST in particular. How many documents do you flip through for a search, maybe 1000 (or 4000, it makes no difference for my point). You search USPAT, USPUB, JPO, WPI, etc., right?

    Flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip looking for the best art.

    When you get done, you’ve only seen about 400 unique documents. You’ve wasted 60% of your flips. Why? Because first you see the patent ( US7327194), then you flip to the identical application in USPUB (US2007120604, and you probably think, “Haven’t I seen that before?”), then you flip to the corresponding JP (JP2007159117), and then to the Korean equivalent in Derwent ( KR20070057022, and you’re probably thinking, “Man, I wish I knew what transistor M4 was doing!”).

    1) Why aren’t all family members concatenated into one (text-searchable) record instead of having archaic search file separation? (Immediately the number of documents which needed to be searched would drop from about 20 million to about 10 million… you don’t think that would bring search efficiency?); and
    2) Why aren’t all foreign documents without US equivalents appended with on-th-fly computer translations, which could thereafter constitute part of the text-searchable record? All foreign Patent Offices already provide on-the-fly machine translations. Are these too advanced for PTO use, or does the PTO still not care one whit about foreign prior art?

    The re-programming of EAST for 1) would take about 1 man week, literally. Instead, the Examiners spend (and have spent for the last 8 years) their time flipping through 60% duplicate records, and you wonder why the search isn’t efficient. And then you blame the applicants.

    I won’t even go into advanced search techniques (or ways to improve search efficiency).

    You see 6K, by focusing on the “We can’t!” your missing what you can do (and the Office should have been doing) to improve the search efficiency at the Office.

    P.S. I agree with you that more applications are not necessarily better. I would like to see better applications (and actually, more better applications), but I never want “better applications” to be mandated just so the PTO doesn’t have to do its job… that is merely evidence of a sick society.

    ra

  12. Anonymous-

    I do understand where 6K is coming from. What worries me most about the PTO is that younger folks who are being indoctrinated into the “patent attorneys are evil” way of thinking, and “we can’t possibly keep up, we can’t possibly issue patents” mentality. Pathetic! What makes it scary is if those folks stick around long enough to be senior level career employees.

    -Gene

  13. There are various reasons for he backlog, and the PTO administrators have attempted various stategies to cope with it.

    First, as I mentioned in a previous post, the number of applications has ballooned in the last 10+ years, and a glut of new examiners have been hired. Unfortunately, many experienced examiners have retired, and the attrition rate of the new hires is incredibly high for a variety of reasons. The new examiners need to be trained by primary examiners since there are simply too many for the SPEs. This takes away examining time from the primaries. Commensurate with the expanding examining corps has been the increase in new SPEs. These SPEs have been placed in art areas they are totally unfamiliar with necessitating primaries to handle classification, taking away examining time. The large number of attritions has left an incredible number of amended cases being transferred to other examiners, usually the primaries, resulting in less examining time for new cases. Neglect of the classification system has resulted in much wasted time searching and researching. Accordingly, my oldest filed new case has gone from 12 months to 5 years over the last few years.

    The Office has tried several things to attack this situation. Examiners no longer do PCT cases. Published applications are no longer classified by the examing groups. Examiners no longer do reexaminations. These actions increase examing time but degrade the quality of those aspects of the Office.

    Possibly, with the downturn in the economy, the attrition rate at the Office will decrease. That, along with the decrease in filings, will enable a pendency reduction, but it will take time. Unfortunately, there is no longer a cadre of older, experienced examiners in the Office. Many have retired, and many (including myself) will be in the next few years.

  14. “When you get done, you’ve only seen about 400 unique documents. You’ve wasted 60% of your flips. Why? Because first you see the patent ( US7327194), then you flip to the identical application in USPUB (US2007120604, and you probably think, “Haven’t I seen that before?”), then you flip to the corresponding JP (JP2007159117), and then to the Korean equivalent in Derwent ( KR20070057022, and you’re probably thinking, “Man, I wish I knew what transistor M4 was doing!”).”

    Personally I leave JPO out usually. The drawings are in the back of the apps, I’m not flipping all the way to the end of each app to look at drawings unless it is a very small sub and I really think there should be something good there. I also do not believe that those duplicates are many times wasted time. Each doc has different dates on it, and different ref’s cited. Let’s say I searched the pub, but then found out the patent itself shows that there was a foreign document cited during prosecution that is named “Here is your prior art 6k” by Hu et al in the journal Jap. Sci.. Or, conversely, I find the patent, but they’ve amended the spec so that it no longer includes the 102 I needed from the pub. In any event, I discount EAST as being very unhelpful anyway, but mostly not for those reasons. However, you are right, substantial improvements to East need to be made. In fact, I have demanded and obtained some mission critical ones myself. Personally, I, by myself, saved the pto more money than it will ever pay me the first year I worked here, and I’ve posted about it several times. Even so, you can’t demand a whole rework of the entire software by tomorrow.

    “Are these too advanced for PTO use, or does the PTO still not care one whit about foreign prior art?”

    By the by, they just recently updated Edan so that we can finally see the file histories from JPO, KPO, and maybe China and britain and all. This happened this week. I’d been wanting that since I started here. I haven’t tested it out yet, they may not have pushed it to the machines yet.

    “The re-programming of EAST for 1) would take about 1 man week, literally. Instead, the Examiners spend (and have spent for the last 8 years) their time flipping through 60% duplicate records, and you wonder why the search isn’t efficient. And then you blame the applicants.”

    You say that, but are you going to be responsible when the whole reworking crashes? Constantly? And no, I don’t blame the applicant’s for an inefficient search. Heck no. I blame the classification system being neglected first and foremost, and second I blame how far along we are in history. I will blame applicants maybe for submitting no prior art anywhere near what they made when they themselves have been working on those types of devices since they graduated college in ’86.

    ” “patent attorneys are evil” way of thinking”

    The only people making me believe that are the attorneys themselves. Gene. Mr. 65 yr old radio man, aka push the person in front of you out of line man. And I don’t think all of them are that way. Most of them can chillax about the zealousness enough to get things done.

    In all seriousness though RA, why not offer your leet skillz as a programmer and make us a new east, and tab out all the prosecutions of every case as you’d mentioned and save us the “duplicates”. Even though it is valuable on occasion, many would still like to have that feature available.

    “You work for the PATENT OFFICE! You should expect PATENT APPLICATIONS to be filed! ”

    If I worked at the DMV I wouldn’t expect hordes of people submitting registration requests for vehicles that AREN’T THEIRS now would I Gene? Yet here at the PTO, that’s exactly what i should be expecting. /facepalm Gene, seriously /facepalm. In any event, your issue is with the backlog’s size, I’m not so much “blaming” it on the applicants themselves. I’m blaming it on reality. The reality is that the PTO is a set organization. It is an organization that can expand at a given rate, and no faster, lest the quality go so far down the toilet the public outcry demolishes the whole system. And, I should add, no faster than the fees will allow since the last time congress GAVE US MONEY was like when? 1776? Idk. If the no. of applications goes through the roof then the organization which is the pto cannot simply double in size to accomodate that on a whim.

    So again Gene, your issue is with what happens IN REALITY when such a number of applications are filed in a period of time relative to the number that were filed before before that period of time. It is not so much with the office.

    And yes, another bottom line issue, on the side of the glut of applications, is the new face of businesses everywhere where you stay at a given job for 3 years instead of your entire career. I’d considered leaving myself, but I probably won’t be with the recession on. Too risky by far. Might do some school, might not. Having a hard time deciding with the pto not paying.

    And gene I issue patents all the time. I’ve probably issued 1 or 2 per bi week for the last 4 months. That’s a lot for my AU, but, they’ve been through RCE and substantial narrowing, they’re ready. Occasionally I’ll get the odd first action allowance. I actually have to write one of those up this weekend. Anyway I’m in the middle of getting ready so I’ll ttyl.

  15. My first and second response attempts got eaten, I think… or this will be a duplicate/triplicate post (sorry).

    “Personally I leave JPO out usually. The drawings are in the back of the apps, I’m not flipping all the way to the end of each app to look at drawings unless it is a very small sub and I really think there should be something good there.”

    6K, you’re in high-tech, and you don’t search JP art??? Omgosh, do you know the JP art is part of the PCT Minimum Documentation, and by not searching it we are in violation of Treaty? Is it really worth starting a war over?? (WIPO incoming!)

    http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/standards/en/pdf/04-01-01.pdf

    P.S. Are you saying you don’t know how to flip between drawing sections while viewing documents in the JPO file??? Omgosh, who trained you 6K? In the JPO file, right click on the drawing pane, and select something like Display Format > Drawings. Then you’ll just flip between the drawing sections of the documents when you choose Next Doc or Prev Doc. If the drawings don’t exist in a particular doc, you’ll get a message (in the drawing pane) that says something like, “Requested section not found.”

    P.P.S. Do you know how to highlight just particular terms from your search strategy for KWIC? Like say you were looking for an oxygen etch in some specific environment, and you just wanted to highlight [L3: oxygen near7 etch$] even though you had a ton of other words/limitations in your final query (L6). Well try [L3 not (L3 not L6)].

    “I also do not believe that those duplicates are many times wasted time.”

    6K – you merely prove my point. When a Doc is important it should be concatenated JUST SO you can see all family members, dates, variations, etc. right there (instead of having to manually search for the family members by priority number…lol). Similarly, when a Doc is not important, it should be concatenated just so you don’t waste time again flipping through (or re-deciphering) the other non-important family members.

    “You say that, but are you going to be responsible when the whole reworking crashes?”

    Yep, blame the public. I was around when the PTO updated EAST to include the pre-1971 USOCR file, and they lost all pre-1971 classification in the process. :-) (NB: that proprietary OCR software you guys use is really special… I guess the programmers never heard of a spell checker?)

    “In all seriousness though RA, why not offer your leet skillz as a programmer and make us a new east, and tab out all the prosecutions of every case as you’d mentioned and save us the ‘duplicates’.”

    I have zero programming education, and only know what I’ve taught myself. When I wanted to word search Fterm results and no tools were available at the JPO or publicly, I made them myself (back in late 2001). I do know a couple of very good programmers (when I spoke of one man-week, I was thinking of my brother).

    If you’re complaining about classification, I hope you’re using the JPO Fterms. For electronics, they’re second to none. You can use them to find US family members too. Gosh, I could even teach you that one….

    So a couple other things I would do to EAST are: 1) include Fterm, EPC, and European ICO classifications in EAST (since they are already provided by the JPO/EPO and they are tons better than most of the classification we have left over from the 1980s) concatenated with the EAST records, and 2) generate a text-searchable LITERATURE file from every NPL that is submitted to the PTO (OCRing the NPL and giving the NPL the classification of the PUB or PAT it is submitted in, or optionally, a classification that an Examiner may assign). Companies/publishers should be able to submit docs directly to the USPTO-LIT file (optionally, with a suggested classification) if they pay a “classification fee” (and/or a “publication fee”) to the Office (i.e., they could use it like a defensive pub). In this instance, Examiners would do the primary classification, because you want the Examiners to *learn* from the state-of-the-art literature, so they become technical experts.

    “I actually have to write one of those up this weekend.”

    One of mine??! Aww shucks, 6K, you sure are swell.

    ra

  16. “Omgosh, do you know the JP art is part of the PCT Minimum Documentation”

    That’s for PCT’s though. But in any case yes, it is worth a war, maybe 2 even if we were talking about pcts. I mean, I can include it in the search report if you guys like, and set the thing to auto flip in the background while I type the action.

    I’m going to be 100% honest with you though about PCT’s. 100% of junior examiners don’t know their arses from their elbows when it comes to even filling out the forms much less the formal requirements for doing searches/restrictions.

    “Are you saying you don’t know how to flip between drawing sections while viewing documents in the JPO file”

    The JPO file? Idk what you’re talking about man. I know how to bring up drawings only and I know how to bring up the patent (which has drawings in the back). I was told a long time ago by the ITRP that trained us on using EAST that this was what seemed like the best way to search drawings in the JPO patents. Maybe there is a way to put the drawings first, but I and all my coworkers don’t know it. If you’d like to tell me I’ll let them know. Sure there is good art there sometimes.

    “In the JPO file, right click on the drawing pane, and select something like Display Format > Drawings. Then you’ll just flip between the drawing sections of the documents when you choose Next Doc or Prev Doc. If the drawings don’t exist in a particular doc, you’ll get a message (in the drawing pane) that says something like, “Requested section not found.””

    Right, so how do I view drawings and then the patent itself? Switch between modes for every maybe significant hit? May as well go to the end of each doc and look at the drawings that way.

    “Do you know how to highlight just particular terms from your search strategy for KWIC?”

    Yeah, why?

    “Like say you were looking for an oxygen etch in some specific environment, and you just wanted to highlight [L3: oxygen near7 etch$] even though you had a ton of other words/limitations in your final query (L6). Well try [L3 not (L3 not L6)].”

    That’s a nifty trick, but KWIC f’s you over enough already without highlighting just the words you’re looking for. You can’t get context for what it is that you’re looking for. It is my exp that using KWIC is just as slow as doing full view and then scrolling down to find what you’re looking for. Otherwise you end up reading the paragraph that has your words, then not knowing wtf you’re reading about, then having to switch to full view anyway. I use KWIC sometimes, but it bites you in the arse just as much as it helps you.

    “When a Doc is important it should be concatenated JUST SO you can see all family members, dates, variations, etc. right there (instead of having to manually search for the family members by priority number…lol)”

    Well yes, but officially we’re relying on the classification and/or the word search results to determine if that particular doc is relevant. Make no mistake Gene, the option of turning on and off concatenation would be a great feature. But I’m not getting my panties in a twist just yet.

    “Yep, blame the public. I was around when the PTO updated EAST to include the pre-1971 USOCR file, and they lost all pre-1971 classification in the process. :-) (NB: that proprietary OCR software you guys use is really special… I guess the programmers never heard of a spell checker?)”

    How am I blaming the public? I asked if you’re going to be responsible when this mission critical piece of software goes belly up one day and doesn’t come back for a week? The point I’m making is that the devs have to be conscious of this little problem when upgrading.

    “(when I spoke of one man-week, I was thinking of my brother).”

    Well then get your bro up in this bia and let’s get er done. But he’s responsible when he puts the decimal point in the wrong place and the software that’s supposed to take fractions of pennies and aggregate returns instead generates thousands of dollars the next day. Alright?

    “So a couple other things I would do to EAST are: 1) include Fterm, EPC, and European ICO classifications in EAST (since they are already provided by the JPO/EPO and they are tons better than most of the classification we have left over from the 1980s) concatenated with the EAST records, and 2) generate a text-searchable LITERATURE file from every NPL that is submitted to the PTO (OCRing the NPL and giving the NPL the classification of the PUB or PAT it is submitted in, or optionally, a classification that an Examiner may assign). Companies/publishers should be able to submit docs directly to the USPTO-LIT file (optionally, with a suggested classification) if they pay a “classification fee” (and/or a “publication fee”) to the Office (i.e., they could use it like a defensive pub). In this instance, Examiners would do the primary classification, because you want the Examiners to *learn* from the state-of-the-art literature, so they become technical experts.”

    That’s like a half billion dollar operation you’re proposing right there. And let me get this straight, you want examiners to now not only classify all the US patents in the country, but all the NPL lit in the entire world? That’s what it sounds like you are proposing unless your “fee” is practically on the order of a filing fee. Sure, it’s a great idea, but it isn’t even near practical.

  17. “Right, so how do I view drawings and then the patent itself? Switch between modes for every maybe significant hit? May as well go to the end of each doc and look at the drawings that way.”

    Like you can read Kanji and Katakana (and yes, patents even have some Hiragana)?? Right !! Seems to me you have enough trouble with English sometimes, 6K! (See below.)

    Truth is, unless you know Kanji or Katakana (one of your translators at STIC can teach you Katakana with a cheat-sheet like she taught me when I was an Examiner)

    “And let me get this straight, you want examiners to now not only classify all the US patents in the country, but all the NPL lit in the entire world?”

    Perhaps I should have said it twice as slow…

    “f r o m e v e r y N P L t h a t i s s u b m i t t e d t o t h e P T O”

    “o p t i o n a l l y, a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t h a t a n E x a m i n e r m a y a s s i g n”

    The beauty of a USPTO-LIT file is that is can be completely automated, and at the same time allow Examiner control when such control is desired.

  18. Sorry for the truncated sentence…

    Truth is, unless you know Kanji or Katakana (one of your translators at STIC can teach you Katakana with a cheat-sheet like she taught me when I was an Examiner), having the whole patent at your viewing pleasure means nothing.

    To see the whole patent of docs where the drawings are important, right click, Text Format > Full text.

    G o t t h a t 6 K ?

  19. “Perhaps I should have said it twice as slow…

    “f r o m e v e r y N P L t h a t i s s u b m i t t e d t o t h e P T O”

    “o p t i o n a l l y, a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n t h a t a n E x a m i n e r m a y a s s i g n”

    The beauty of a USPTO-LIT file is that is can be completely automated, and at the same time allow Examiner control when such control is desired.”

    I should presume that the PTO would then become the world’s premier publishing service if it was nearly free for this service. And as to it being classified, we have neither the time or inclination to do so. I’m telling you that what you are proposing is a huge project, no matter how you want to spin it. Otherwise, get your bro to create it in his spare time and put it on a publicly accessible website and tell us all about it. It’ll be such a great thing that all examiners will soon be using it more than google. After that of course everyone in the entire patent field will be using it and you can make millions off of advertisement revenues after you patent this paradigmlol. And you can allow only examiners to classify things on the site if you like.

    Get to it.

    ” having the whole patent at your viewing pleasure means nothing.”

    hardly. If you really do know who I am you’d know for certain that there is plenty to be found in documents written by people in jap for the trained eye of an english only speaker to spot. More than enough to tell one whether the document is worth further review by a translator in very many instances. Bottom line, if you can’t tell anything from the jap docs cited in my actions then you’re not looking very hard, or don’t understand why I’m interested in them in the first place.

  20. 6K, you are making non-points. The logical reasoning (and obfuscation) you are exhibiting is poor.

    Like a child that when presented with facts spins and says “But I’m right because…” and then hopes no one examines his words too closely, you simply meander off point with sarcasm and hope it appears to those less “versed” in fallacy (or more honest in character) than you that you win.

    All while you convince yourself that you are right and everyone else is wrong. The quintessence of government today.

    To be, and not to appear, 6K – that is the lesson of life. But I suspect you are still very far from learning this.

    And unfortunately, you haven’t made a single point worth responding to.

    David Testardi

  21. This is how an argument with 6K goes:

    6K: I usually don’t search the JPO file.

    RA: Why?

    6K: Because in EAST I have to flip through all the Japanese text just to get to the drawings at the back of the documents.

    RA: Why don’t you just set EAST to go directly to the drawings?

    6K: (After a pause) Because then I can’t see the Japanese text.

    RA: Why would you want to see the Japanese text?

    6K: (After a pause) Haven’t you checked my cases? I always find stuff in the Japanese text!

    RA: Wait, I thought you said you usually don’t search the JPO file?

    6K: (Responds with sarcasmlol) ….

    A government employee talks to a citizen:

    6K: I can’t work like this.
    CI: Why?
    6K: My chair’s too hard!
    CI: O.K. Here’s a soft chair.
    6K: Thanks. I can’t work like this.
    CI: Why?
    6K: My chair’s too soft.

    A corporate employee talks to a supervisor:

    CE: I can’t work like this.
    SU: Why?
    CE: My chair’s too hard!
    SU: Be thankful you have a chair and get to work, or you won’t have a job.

    It seems like the people most surrounded with comfort and ease devolve into the ones the least able to deal with discomfort and difficulty. In government today, there are many who would rather be served in comfort than actually work to improve things.

  22. I am glad to see someone talking about this. I am totally frustrated with the whole system. I have working on a simple product patent since September of 2006 and it totally blows me away how incompetent our system is. No wonder the Chinese….and everyone else is so far ahead of us on the execution of creative new product development. Shame on us. I’m ready to give up !!!!!
    One month I get a confimation notice. The next month a correction request. The next month a nice little piece of paper with a seal and a crest. The next month an abandonment notice. I’m just an average guy with a lot of ideas, but this really makes me want to give up. Any advice. The help centers are useless, probably not even really in this country.

  23. G Rubin-

    I am sorry for your frustrations, and we all understand how you feel.

    First, the Inventor Help line at the USPTO is actually at the USPTO. The people who staff the Inventor Help line are retired examiners with a lot of experience. If you had some difficulty dealing with them I would try and call back another time and see if you can catch someone else answering the phone. I think most of those guys work about 1 day a week, so call back the next day and see if you can get some better information.

    Another thing to consider is filing a petition with the Office of Petitions. They are the ones who handle problems that do not neatly fit into a pigeon hole. I have always found them to be helpful.

    Another thing, it sounds like you might be representing yourself. If that is the case you need to realize you are at a substantial disadvantage. Patent law and procedure is extremely complex and not something an inventor can or should handle on their own.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    -Gene

  24. I am wondering about the sources used to acquire the data presented in graphs here. I’m involved in a study of the application process and it would be immensely helpful to get data related to the pendency for issued patents in addition to abandoned applications. Is this available at uspto.gov?

  25. Joe-

    Much, if not all, of the data that I use comes from the Annual Reports published by the USPTO. They are available dating back to 1993 online at:

    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/annual/index.html

    Good luck with your study.

    -Gene