USPTO enhances metrics to help ensure patent quality

By: Jason C. Williams

The United Stated Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in conjunction with Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) have recently amended the metrics that are used to ensure patent quality.

Last week the USPTO announced these metrics that were based on comments from individuals, corporations, law firms and intellectual property organizations. Prior to the new metrics the USPTO primarily used two factors to ensure patent quality –the allowance compliance rate and in-process compliance rate. The former refers to how correct the examiner was in determining the patentability of the design. The latter refers to the thoroughness of the actions taken during the time of the examination.

The complete quality factors are as follows:
• the quality of the action setting forth the final disposition of the application
• the quality of the actions taken during the course of the examination
• the perceived quality of the patent process as measured through external quality surveys of applicants and practitioners
• the quality of the examiner’s initial search
• the degree to which the first action on the merits follows best examination practices
• the degree to which global USPTO data is indicative of compact, robust prosecution
• the degree to which patent prosecution quality is reflected in the perceptions of the examination corps as measured by internal quality surveys

The new factors will take effect at the beginning of fiscal year 2011. The USPTO-PPAC will release the results from their findings to the general public in hopes of further fine-tuning their quality metrics.

Due to the extreme backlog of patent applications of the USPTO, as well as an increased infrastructure, hopefully a more efficient quality care will have patents acted upon quicker. It should be noted that the new metrics will not change or alter the requirements for obtaining a patent.

For complete coverage regarding the new requirements please go to:

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