Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

GAO releases two patent reports

The Government Accountability Office has released two reports: one suggesting the USPTO should define quality, reassess incentives and improve clarity; the other suggesting the USPTO should strengthen search capabilities and better monitor examiners' work

The Government Accountability Office has today released two reports on the USPTO, as well as data from the survey of roughly 2,600 patent examiners. All three are below:

Patent Office Should Define Quality, Reassess Incentives, and Improve Clarity

Patent Office Should Strengthen Search Capabilities and Better Monitor Examiners' Work

Survey of US Patent Examiners

As noted by Dennis Crouch on the Patently-O blog, the reports were requested by Representative Goodlatte in his role as chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “I expect that Rep. Goodlatte will hold hearings with PTO representatives in the fall to focus on ways to move forward,” said Crouch.


Commenting on the findings of the report on quality, incentives and clarity, the GAO concluded: “GAO makes seven recommendations, including that USPTO more consistently define patent quality and articulate that definition in agency documents and guidance, reassess the time allotted for examination, analyse the effects of incentives on patent quality, and consider requiring applicants to use additional clarity tools. USPTO generally agreed with GAO's findings, concurred with the recommendations, and provided information on steps officials plan to take to implement the recommendations.”

The GAO’s overview of the report on strengthening search capabilities and monitoring examiners’ work states: “GAO is making seven recommendations, among them, that USPTO develop a strategy to identify key sources of nonpatent literature, establish goals and indicators for prior art search quality, and collect sufficient information to assess prior art search quality. USPTO concurred with GAO's recommendations.”

Some find the survey results more interesting than the actual reports.

Lisa Ouellette, assistant professor at Stanford Law School, commented on the Written Description blog: “I think the survey data is more interesting than the conclusions; examiners were asked questions including how much time they spend on different parts of examination, how useful they found PTO training, how often they searched for/used different types of prior art, what factors make prior art searching/examination difficult, how much uncompensated overtime they worked to meet production goals, how confident they were that they found the most relevant prior art, what they think of PTO quality initiatives, etc. Lots of rich data here!”

IP observers on Twitter are already giving their reactions to the reports:

GAO to PTO: You keep using that word - 'patent quality' - I do not think it means what you think it means — Brian J. Love (@BrianJLove) July 20, 2016

The GAO Report Shows that Examiners in TC 3600 Spend a Lot Less time on Prior Art Searching Than Other Art Units: — PatentBuddy (@patentbuddy) July 20, 2016
This is an unacceptably high number. — Vera Ranieri (@vranieri) July 20, 2016
more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

European lawyers tell Managing IP how the legal market is reacting to the first few months of the UPC and why cases are set to take off
The ban could be extended or cancelled, depending on whether Judge Pauline Newman cooperates with an investigation, the Judicial Council of the Federal Circuit stated
Sources say some China-based lawyers are prepared to take large pay cuts to join stable practices, but most firms are sceptical about new hires
Lord Justice Colin Birss used ChatGPT to help him write a judgment, a development that has generated plenty of debate but which is perhaps inevitable
The decision marks the first time the Unified Patent Court has issued a preliminary injunction after an oral hearing involving both sides in a dispute
The German carmaker is the second licensee to sign up to Avanci’s 5G pool following its launch last month
Managing IP presents the third edition of its Ones to Watch list, profiling 22 in-house counsel on the rise
Kaushal Choonee is a patent attorney at Elekta in the UK
Alberthe Moungouka is IP legal counsel at Dassault Systèmes in Singapore
Kaisa Susi is a legal counsel at Neste in Finland