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Tag: patent pendency

A Realistic Timeline of the Patent Process

As he often does, Dennis Crouch has created a chart to help better understand the patent process.  This one shows the average time between filing a patent application and receiving a first action on the merits (“FAOM”).  Generally, this FAOM comes in the form of a non-final rejection.  Very rarely is it an immediate notice of allowance; most of these occurrences are limited to design and plant patents.  Professor Crouch notes that the average pendency from filing to issuance as a patent is about 3.5 years.  That number represents a slight drop over the past few years since Director Kappos has taken the helm at the Patent Office, but the Office still has a backlog of 600,000 patent applications to work through.  Most of the 3.5 years is consumed simply in waiting for the newly-filed patent application to rise from the bottom of the stack to receive examination.

Patent Dashboard Displays a Clear, but Sad, View of Patent Pendency

The Patent Office has taken a number of steps in the last year or so toward transparency, approachability, and clarity.  It recently released the Patent Dashboard, or “Data Visualization Center.”  The Dashboard is a simple display of the average time it takes to get to various milestones in the patenting process.  The data is clear to read, but gruesome to contemplate.  As I previously noted, the typical amount of time between filing and receiving a first response from the Patent Office runs between 2 and 4 years; the Dashboard shows that it averages 35.4 months, or just under 3 years.

Some have criticized the Patent Office for admitting the horrible state the patent system is in.  I think, however, that this Dashboard represents another progressive step.  The PTO recently created the Inventor’s Eye, a newsletter for the inventor community.  A number of months ago, it developed and then expanded the Green Tech Accelerated Pilot Program.  Under the significant budgetary burdens that the PTO faces, these are real gains.