Percentage of Patents Where Applicants Filed Disclosure Statements

I looked at a sample of 100,000 patents that issued in 2006 and 2007 to see what proportion of them include at least one applicant filed information disclosure statement (IDS) in the electronic file wrapper found in PAIR. About 83% of these recently issued patents include an IDS. The graph below breaks-up results roughly according to Art Unit at the PTO and sorts results according to the percentage patents that include an IDS in the file wrapper.

Because most of these categories include well over 1000 patents, the difference between individual groups is statistically significant (.99 CI) whenever the actual difference between two groups is at least four percentage points.

41 thoughts on “Percentage of Patents Where Applicants Filed Disclosure Statements

  1. Here, I’m invited to contemplate my own loins and think about what it all means. Shortly afterwards, on a later Bytes thread, Eye advances some theory that a PTO Exr got fired because he was a “white male”. Any shrinks out there, to tell me what we can take from this dialogue? If it’s any consolation, Eye, I’m pretty sure mine’s smaller than yours. My cell-phone, that is.

  2. Max, I believe you were the one who accused me of driving down the wrong side of the road. Personally, I’m not worried about too many things (except maybe IDSs), and certainly not anyone out to get me.

    Please re-read Kipling. No ordinary poet was kind enough to include it in its original metre for added impact. When you’re finished re-reading it, re-read it again, then take a deep breath look down toward your loins and actually think about what it means.

  3. “Sounds like what you found is a paper the inventors wrote.

    We’re back to that 35 USC 102(a) and (e) thing again.”

    Actually not often. Usually something that is blatantly prior art.

    It doesn’t matter, random’s point is that the applicant’s rep should know if it’s prior art or it is not. Either the applicant did it, didn’t publish, or hasn’t published within a year or their company did it or whatever. So, point is, they’re the one that would know if it is or it isn’t and that information is material to patentability in many cases. Rule 56 bia, either say it is or it isn’t prior art or hand it over.

    “Better to have no IDS than a 300+ reference IDS (playing hide-the-good-reference game)”

    I had a 500 ref one with 2 good refs. Several others weren’t completely off the subject matter but a good 300 were.

    “(i.e. you’re gonna breeze through them and just cite the one that pops up first as the result of your impeccable search logic)”

    How did you know? TBH I usually just google for a few minutes and call it a day.

    “http://static.4chan.org/flash/b/gl.mp3″

    ROW ROW FIGHT THA POWA!

  4. Much as I would dearly love to continue (because it’s such fun) I think you and I should stop now, don’t you. This is getting embarrassing. We are surely boring the others, and off-thread to boot. By now we have at least three meanings of SI, from everybody under the sun except the original correspondent, “EdStirling” . Come on Ed, what did YOU mean.

  5. I like the chart. It’s interesting that so many of the allowed patents have had IDS documents filed. Is that a similar proportion to the originally filed cases?

    Take applications filed during the years of X and Y and determine the percent of cases with a filed IDS that are allowed, still in prosecution, abandoned vs. cases that didn’t have an IDS filed (as of now) with the same breakdown.

    Would there be a difference in allowance rates for cases with IDS documents and without IDS documents?

  6. Sour kraut Max,

    There you go again, insufferable, Just So Insufferable, SI.

    And no, the jury is not still out – laypeople do not have a monopoly on “imbecile.”.

  7. Cmon Max, your reading incomprehension seems to be high. I said Sociopathetic, not sociopath… these are two vastly different things, like heating to 400-850 degrees or heating at 400-850 degrees.

    Please go back and review your case law, convert the temperatures to SI units and then get back to me.

    CHEF AMERICA, INC.,
    Plaintiff-Appellant,
    v.
    LAMB-WESTON, INC.,
    Defendant-Appellee.

  8. Back again Dork. I checked in Wikipedia. No sign of “SI”. But the three signs of a “sociopath” are abuse of animals, pyromania and bed-wetting. So I’ve relieved myself on that one. As to whether a patent attorney can also be an “imbecile”…..I think the jury’s still out on that one, wouldn’t you say?

  9. “While the contribution to the public may be nonexistant for most software patents …”

    probably true

    “there was still a significant investment made for the vast majority of software paents …”

    probably true

    “it would take significant effort for someone to implement a claimed invention.”

    probably not true. Given the breadth of many claims, a couple of hours (sometimes minutes) of coding could be spent writing a program upon which the claims would read.

  10. I’m much obliged, PatentDork. I had never ever heard of this “SI” condition that’s so well-known that its abbreviation is immediately recognised by all except me. Good to know. Tell me, in the USA, do folks like you often have cause to advert to it? I’m off now, to read about it in Wikipedia. You will surely agree, I need to know all I can about it.

  11. Dry MaxiPad, he was referring to your personality disorders thats all, do not take everything so seriously ok ;) and use your lack of imagination better

    Sociopathetic Imbecilism = SI

  12. Help me Ed. What’s this “SI” that you have been waiting for? Surely not the “Systeme Internationale” for metric scientific units, right?

  13. AllSeeingEye, I suggest you stop digging, stop romanticizing and stop deluding yourself. The world is not out to get you. You write that “everyone else” is wrong. In the present context, the chance of that statement being true is zero. We are not in a Hollywood fantasy, with a lone witness who knows the truth but nobody will believe him. No matter how many guts the senile old man on the Autobahn had, and he had a lot, what he reported on the ‘phone to his wife was wrong. End of story.

  14. link to davidpbrown.co.uk

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;

    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

  15. Cute Max, but sometimes it takes some guts to stick with the right direction when everyone else is wrong.

    “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

  16. Maybe, Caligula, but it did provoke a lively thread, from which I have learnt something. So I for one am happy for Dennis to keep posting such conversation stimulants.

    Eye, you remind me of the Geisterfahrer cruising down the German Autobahn. On receiving a call from his wife, relaying a radio broadcast warning, about a lone vehicle driving the wrong way down the Autobahn, he retorts “One vehicle you say dear. But there are hundreds of them”.

    As to “Somebody”, who thinks I’m “whining” for the USA to join the rest of the world, trawl back and you will see that I consistently advocate that you stay with your system, and we with ours. Just as long as we don’t have a foul compromise. There is no compromise with a Geisterfahrer.

  17. With all due respect, is the observation in this article supposed to be some kind of revelation? I bet if we did another study, we’d find that nearly 100% of the specifications are filed with drawings as well, but that’s just my guess. Must be a slow news day.

  18. “If it werent for the “pure crapola” technology in the computer related arts, we wouldn’t be able to read your constant stream of foul-smelling garbage.”

    Uh, no. But keep dreaming. If you clap your hands really loudly, maybe you’ll even begin to believe that you invented the Blackberry.”

    This response makes absolutely no sense… if it weren’t for the patent system, you’d be out of things to complain about. But I’m sure you’d find something else.

  19. I’m starting to wonder if MaxDrei isn’t another one of Mooney’s obsequious and tardlicking alter egos…no?

  20. I understand the problem here. Mooney can’t relate to the difficulty in solving a problem in the computer arts. Mooney never did anything that took more than a day, or a few minutes for that matter. At least that’s what his ex-girlfriend told me.

    Incidentally, the purpose of promoting progress notwithstanding, I don’t think there are too many people who refer to patent documents in any field, or for that matter anything written by lawyers, to actually learn how to do something.

  21. Sean: competition is good, no? I would welcome competition from US patent attorneys. Competition raises standards, no? Pity that, as of now, US patent law is on one planet, and the harmonised patent law of the rest of the world is on another, so we can’t have that exciting competition.

    As Hot Chocolate used to sing:

    I believe in Malcolm…You Sexy Thing.

  22. “The nonexistant contribution to the public for software patents has more to do with the fact that nobody of skill in the art reads software patents to learn about inventions.”

    Yes, that’s because those skilled in the art simply “invent” the software they need on their own, over the course of a few hours, or even an entire day sometimes.

  23. What MM wrote is an unfair exaggeration. While the contribution to the public may be nonexistant for most software patents, there was still a significant investment made for the vast majority of software paents and it would take significant effort for someone to implement a claimed invention.

    The nonexistant contribution to the public for software patents has more to do with the fact that nobody of skill in the art reads software patents to learn about inventions.

    MM wrote: “The “investment” in their invention is precisely nothing. All the money is in the patent because that’s where the “business” itself lies: asserting the patent. The contribution to the public is so utterly minimal that, but for the patent, nobody would give two seconds thought as to the alleged “invention”. They’d just implement it and go on with their lives.”

  24. “If it werent for the “pure crapola” technology in the computer related arts, we wouldn’t be able to read your constant stream of foul-smelling garbage.”

    Uh, no. But keep dreaming. If you clap your hands really loudly, maybe you’ll even begin to believe that you invented the Blackberry.

  25. “That graph speaks for itself and also confirms what many of us know: patents in the computer-related arts are mostly pure crapola relative to patents in the medical and biotech arts because the applicants in most cases are just playing the patent lottery.”

    What an utter load of nonsense. If it werent for the “pure crapola” technology in the computer related arts, we wouldn’t be able to read your constant stream of foul-smelling garbage. And what’s so great about yet another folded protein?

    “The “investment” in their invention is precisely nothing. All the money is in the patent because that’s where the “business” itself lies: asserting the patent. The contribution to the public is so utterly minimal that, but for the patent, nobody would give two seconds thought as to the alleged “invention”. They’d just implement it and go on with their lives.”

    Yes and you know this because you are who exactly? One or two sleazy operators out of millions might play such a game, but you seemed to be tuned right in to their frequency (better count the spoons).

    Crawl back into your stinking hole Mooney.

  26. Ya know it seems as though some people have strayed from the traditional american statistical pasttime of baseball and moved on to developing a new statistical pasttime . . . patents.

  27. “In eDAN under ‘Tools’ select ‘Reference Manager’ click on the individual IDS or 892 from the list (or ‘All References’) and there will be a EAST search term at the bottom.”

    Unfortunately, you then have to go through the list one by one and make sure that the import did indeed get all of the references because sometimes it does not. This is because the list in “reference manager” is not always complete. Usually I think this is because it doesn’t include things past the first IDS filed or something like that.

  28. “Second, do you know of any way for examiners to quickly import patent/pgpub references the IDS into a search string? My best attempt involves using an OCR tool and reformatting the output manually, which is quite tedious.”

    In eDAN under ‘Tools’ select ‘Reference Manager’ click on the individual IDS or 892 from the list (or ‘All References’) and there will be a EAST search term at the bottom.

    Next week I’ll reveal how to export your tagged list minus IDS references (using the dreaded ‘not’ function) into your 892 in OACS.

  29. MaxDrei, I for one would agree with you on harmonization to EPC standards. There are many aspects of US practice that could stand to be conformed, such as multiply dependent claims, duty of disclosure, etc.

    I firmly thought that the Sup.Ct. should have looked to the “inventive step” methodology in resolving KSR. They were really messing in an area they knew next to nothing about (as evidenced by the “gobbeldygook” remarks), and my fear was that the law of unintended consequences was highly likely to dominate the legal landscape after the decision. Luckily they pared back somewhat and re-stated Graham, but the decision still leaves a lot to be desired. Harmonization in this area would have been much more helpful.

    However, if all the US patent attorneys became capable of handling EPC matters, you might have to lower your billing rates due to increased competition!

  30. That graph speaks for itself and also confirms what many of us know: patents in the computer-related arts are mostly pure crapola relative to patents in the medical and biotech arts because the applicants in most cases are just playing the patent lottery. The “investment” in their invention is precisely nothing. All the money is in the patent because that’s where the “business” itself lies: asserting the patent. The contribution to the public is so utterly minimal that, but for the patent, nobody would give two seconds thought as to the alleged “invention”. They’d just implement it and go on with their lives.

  31. “You’re going to give the references in the IDS the same consideration that you give the references that are part of your search (i.e. you’re gonna breeze through them and just cite the one that pops up first as the result of your impeccable search logic), so what’s the big deal?”

    First, you’re assuming every reference is a patent/pgpub. The hide-the-good-reference game works extremely well with nonpatent literature.

    Second, do you know of any way for examiners to quickly import patent/pgpub references the IDS into a search string? My best attempt involves using an OCR tool and reformatting the output manually, which is quite tedious.

  32. I correspond regularly with quite a few European colleagues. Can’t say I recall any of them telling me that the background has to include anything more than a discussion of D1.

    Not sure there’s all that much harmony when ROW is constantly whining for us to adopt their system.

  33. Dear Somebody, would like to oblige you but have a degree of diffidence, because I make my living helping my (US) clients by knocking out the European patents written by their (US) competitors. I’ll tell you, when you’re a client of mine. OK?

    Why do I tease readers here? Because I am a fan of the EPC, and think the patents world would be easier to defend to the public, all over the world, if every jurisdiction adopted the bones of the EPC. After all, it is the fusion of common law England and civil law Germany, the patents Statutes of Japan and China are copies of the German one and India has the English system. The way I see it, harmonisation is already done and dusted, all over the world. Except for the USA.

  34. “Ever reflected on the adverse consequences of that drafting style, outside the USA?”

    Max, most of us are aware of the requirement to discuss D1 in the application in (much of) ROW, but what are these adverse consequences you allude to?

    “Better to have no IDS than a 300+ reference IDS (playing hide-the-good-reference game)”

    You’re going to give the references in the IDS the same consideration that you give the references that are part of your search (i.e. you’re gonna breeze through them and just cite the one that pops up first as the result of your impeccable search logic), so what’s the big deal?

  35. Reminds me of the century old quote from old money Lord SoandSo, about one of his house party guests: “The more he spoke of his honesty, the faster I counted the spoons”. But, seriously, how many of you are now starting your PCT spec’s, at the top of page 1, with the sub-heading “Brief Description of the Drawings”? Ever reflected on the adverse consequences of that drafting style, outside the USA?

  36. Random

    “it’s too bad that 80% of the references on the IDS are completely worthless for anything”

    yes, the law relative to inequitable conduct needs to be changed.

  37. “Then after a couple of hours and going to the STIC to order a copy of the paper…”

    Why are you waiting a couple of hours to order a copy of the reference? How long does it take to order a reference from STIC?

    “…I have to wonder why those very same applications refuse to tell me the source of their background information.”

    Most background sections of patent applications are whatever blather the application drafter regurgitated from memory from other, similar applications he/she previously drafted. Some of it is cribbed from other applications or patents.

    The ideal background is so generic as to be utterly useless (good), extremely minimal (better), or non-existent (best).

    “And then they argue that it might not even be prior art.”

    You’ve heard of 35 USC 102(a) and (e), correct? A little provision of the CFR called section 1.131? Any of this ringing a bell?

    “…I find the reference that they copied nearly verbatim.”

    Sounds like what you found is a paper the inventors wrote.

    We’re back to that 35 USC 102(a) and (e) thing again.

  38. Looks about right, it’s too bad that 80% of the references on the IDS are completely worthless for anything. Seriously, if they consider even those things to be material to patentability I have to wonder why those very same applications refuse to tell me the source of their background information. And then they argue that it might not even be prior art. Then after a couple of hours and going to the STIC to order a copy of the paper which isn’t free online I find the reference that they copied nearly verbatim. Gee, I wonder if that reference which had nearly every claim limitation shown wasn’t more material to patentability than the 50 references on the IDS that had one limitation, if any at all, shown.

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