The USPTO has released its patent pendency simulator so that you can play at home.

The Patent Pendency Model (PPM) is a Simulation Tool that predicts patent production output based on actual historical data and input assumptions. The model uses historical patterns in funding, staffing and pendency. The model uses an interactive spreadsheet to make calculations and to create graphs of predicted outcomes.

The Simulator works in Microsoft Excel. Players set various inputs each year, including the number of examiners hired, atrition rate, examiner overtime hours, examiner attrition rate, change in application filings, change in the percent of filings that are RCEs. (In the game, the PTO continues with its notion that RCE’s count as applications…)

Although not quite an FPS, the game is at least free!

- Directions: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/stats/patent_pend_model.jsp
- Play the Simulator: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/stats/pendency_model.xls

If you want to spend money:

Cheap Computer’s comment is pretty good, too.

David’s comment above deserves a bump. I missed it during the holidays.

People will learn in their own time if proper guidance is given it will be much easier to follow.

Am I just a too-inexpert user of Excel, or is the PTO still playing hide-the-ball games?

I can select the cells at the top of the spreadsheet to enter input, but I can’t get into the bottom 2/3 of the table where the formulas are. Are the formulas reasonable?

And what’s going on in rows 1-130?

If I can’t validate the model, why should I have any faith in its output? The Administrative Procedure Act requires disclosure of models before an agency relies on the model for rule making… This doesn’t cut it…

Remember that the PTO represented in its Federal Register rule notices that the Continuations/Claims rules would only affect 11% of applications? Then when the PTO’s internal statistics were produced in the Tafas litigation, they showed that the PTO generated a statistical printout for GC Toupin, showing that 80% would be affected. Yet Mr Toupin signed off on the PTO’s court, public and inter-agency representations.

So until I can look under the PTO’s numbers I have more questions than answers….

@Fishbones

-number of applications filed 1963-2008(link to uspto.gov)

I don’t think you can find a graph with examiner experience. GAO has a nice attrition graph tho

/media/docs/2005/06/d05720.pdf (page 23)

For a more realistic “game” change attrition to 10% and %applications filed to at least 7%

Just train em in their spare time eh? Okay, see how well that works.

“who’s going to train all those people?”

maybe SPE’s who are not that busy

a graph covering the past 20-30 years and showing both the number of applications filed and examiners with over three years of experience would be interesting/informative

“sufficient hiring”

Problem is, who’s going to train all those people?

The one thing this does show is that with sufficient hiring, the projected backlog can be knocked to zero by 2014. It will never happen, but it is possible.

Once the economy turns around, the 8% attrition rate is going to be a very low estimate.

I just did .222, but I’ve been practicing.

Thanks, Jaoi(tm)! I’m a bobbing bobcat – average of 0.2928 seconds.

link to bbc.co.uk