Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

Fiscal Year 2010 – Increase in Allowance Rate Over Fiscal Year 2009.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on October 13, 2010

Below is an excerpt from a recent post at the Director’s Forum:  David Kappos’ Public Blog, which commented on the hard work being done at the USPTO to improve patent quality and increase work output.

Overall in FY 2010, the allowance rate increased to 45.6%, compared to an allowance rate of 41.3% in FY 2009.  In addition, actions per disposal decreased to 2.42 from 2.73 in FY 2009.  Furthermore, as a result of a concerted campaign to begin turning the tide on our backlog, the patent application backlog dropped from 718,835 at the end of FY 2009, to 708,535 at the end of FY 2010.  Pretty remarkable considering that application filings were up about 4%, that our examiner workforce shrunk and we were unable to authorize overtime for most of the year due to funding challenges, and that we affirmatively gave our examiners *more* time to examine each application as a clear signal that quality is our first priority.

We note the allowance rate increase, which had been on the decline for a handful of years, is apparently now on the rise.  Kudos to Kappos et al.

3 Responses

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  1. NY Patent Attorney said, on October 14, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    What’s causing the uptick in the allowance rate? We haven’t had any significant change in the patent law that would support it. I recall reading somewhere that the PTO had previous counted RCEs as an abandoned application and a refiled application, which artifically diminished allowance rates, but is no longer counting an RCE as an abandonment.

  2. Jake Ward said, on October 14, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    In my opinion, the uptick is a result of internal USPTO policies becoming more applicant-friendly, and not so much any change in the patent law itself. Probably due to the efforts of the Kappos administration, although some of the policy changes were likely initiated by others at the USPTO (Nick Godici, etc.) prior to Kappos starting as Director last year. I expect the allowance rate to continue to rise, hopefully to levels reminiscent of the pre-Dudas era.

  3. patent litigation said, on October 18, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Kappos has implemented some creative programs and pragmatic approaches that appear already to have gone far in improving efficiency and morale at the patent office. It looks like he has earned the high opinion in which he is generally held, and he deserves credit for his accomplishments.


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