Design Patent Backlog – Growing and Growing

By Dennis Crouch

As the popularity of design patents continues to rise the USPTO is struggling to keep-up with the demand on its examination corps. The chart below shows the backlog of unexamined design patent cases. The PTO only has capacity to examine about 25,000 design patents per year and a 1+ year backlog is unacceptably long for design patent rights. You'll note that the backlog dips each September when year-end-quotas are due. At this point the delay is not causing problems for applicants who need quick patent issuance because "expedited examination" is available for a $900 fee (with discounts for small and micro entities). Throughout this time, the allowance rate for design patents has remained relatively steady at about 90%.

10 thoughts on “Design Patent Backlog – Growing and Growing

  1. I have some questions with regard to your in-depth study.

    What is the meaning of “year-end-quotas”?

  2. This is an outrage. Without design patents, designers would not have any incentive to develop new designs.

  3. From In re Owens:

    although counsel for the PTO conceded at oral argument that he could not reconcile all past allowances under [the standard proposed by the PTO to be the correct standard], he maintained that all future applications will be evaluated according to it.

    Design patent “law” at the MPEP = clownshow.

    Heckuva job, Kappos.

  4. Remained steady…

    Yes, the allowance rate remained steady in spite of a dramatic increase in design patent application filings. We know you have difficulty with maths, anon. Do we need to prove that to everyone again?

  5. PTO is like a waterbed — you push down in one place to reduce pendency time (e.g., first office actions) and it pops up in another place (e.g., long pendencies of RCEs).

  6. It’d be nice to see an electronically searchable image database for design patents created, particularly one that included images culled from various Internet sources.

    You know, real examination of these “increasingly important” applications.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, Dennis, and suggest that Egyptian Goddess is the design patent equivalent of State Street Bank: a representative and massive failure that will soon be recognized and reigned in by the Supreme Court. I’ll also note that the chart above, together with the allowance rate, is yet more evidence of the rank incompetence of David “Heckuva Job” Kappos. He certainly “fixed” things, didn’t he?

  7. the allowance rate for design patents has remained relatively steady at about 90%.

    It’s an explosion in design creativity!!!!!!!!

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