An Appearance of Quality over Quantity.
In this press release yesterday, the USPTO declared that it will no longer release an annual list of top 10 organizations receiving the most U.S. patents. According to the USPTO, this information will no longer be published because of the agency’s desire to emphasize patent quality over quantity. In an unusual bit of reasoning, the USPTO believes it will be discouraging any perception that the agency believes “more is better” by ceasing to publish the annual list.
The press release further noted that patent quality last year was the best in over 20 years (how measured?), and the agency also had the lowest rate of patents approved in more than 30 years. As examples of progress, the USPTO points to a variety of programs, including:
• rigorous in-process and end-process reviews of examiners’ work and written certification and recertification examinations to ensure examiners remain up-to-speed on patent law, practice and procedure;
• increasing the number of “second-pair-of-eyes” reviews of initial decisions to grant patents;
• implementing eight-month university-style training programs to teach patent examination coursework to new examiners in a collegial and collaborative environment;
• establishing a unit of patent examiners solely devoted to reexamining patents for which evidence raising a substantial new question of patentability is found after the patent is granted;
• improving the quality of USPTO work life to attract the best pool of new patent examiners by offering opportunities to work from home; and
• implementing electronic processing of patent applications to make the patent examination process more efficient and effective.