By: George N. Stevens
This article deals with the status and processing of applications filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The following table indicates the number of applications filed, issued and awaiting Examiner action from the years 2000 through 2006.
As can be seen in the foregoing table, the number of utility applications filed from 2000 to 2006 has increased by more than 40% from 291,653 in the year 2000 to 415 in the year 2006. However, during the same time period, the number of applications issued as patents has remained basically unchanged. Furthermore, with the apparent decline in the allowance rate, the percentage of all pending cases which are continuations has risen from approximately 15% to over 22% during the same time period. This has resulted in a substantial increase (over 200%) in the number of cases which are awaiting some form of Examiner action.
With the backlog of cases mounting, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has set a goal of hiring 1,000 new Examiners each year for the past few years resulting in an increase of utility patent Examiners from 3,538 in 2002 to 4,779 in 2006. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has also set a goal of hiring 1,200 Examiners each year for the next five years. —click here to read more—