Examining the USPTO


With a backlog of applications threatening to overwhelm examiners, large parts of the patent community furious about its recently implemented rules package and two lawsuits pending against it, the USPTO is facing unprecedented criticism. Eileen McDermott considers why practitioners are angry. Plus: Director Jon Dudas responds to the critics

There are 800,000 unexamined patent applications sitting on the shelf at the USPTO today. To make matters worse, the Office continues to receive another 400,000 applications each year, and that number is only likely to increase. As a result of the backlog, it now takes an average of 32 months from the time of submission for a patent application to be approved or rejected. Add to all of this an attrition rate of one examiner for nearly every two that are hired, and the backlog seems almost insurmountable.

There are 800,000 unexamined patent applications sitting on the shelf at the USPTO today. To make matters worse, the Office continues to receive another 400,000 applications each year, and that number is only likely to increase. As a result of the backlog, it now takes an average of 32 months from the time of submission for a patent application to...


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