Median Patent Prosecution Pendency

The chart below shows the median patent prosecution pendency over the past decade (2005-2015).  You’ll note a steady rise in pendency up until 2010 with a subsequent steady fall since that time. I expect that median pendency will continue to fall over the next couple of years, but is unlikely to fall below 24 months.

Here, I define pendency as the number of months from filing to issuance on a straight application-by-application bases In this calculation I did not consider priority, PCT, provisional, or RCE filings.


One major area of difficulty is that of ex parte appeals.  Patents that were involved in an appeal of an examiner’s decision during prosecution have an average pendency of over 7 years.



6 thoughts on “Median Patent Prosecution Pendency

  1. 3

    A 2-d (3-d?) histogram might be enlightening here. That is, bins divided by issuance year (or quarter) on the x axis, and months of pendency on the y axis, with the height (or color) of each bin indicating how many applications fall into that bin.

    This would separate out the appeals cases and show whether there are any interesting extra modes in the data (including from expedited cases, continuations, etc.).

    1. 3.1

      A box and whiskers would be helpful, to see whether the median is indicative of typical results, or whether there is a wide spread in potential lengths of time.

  2. 2

    what is the median prosecution time for applications without expedited status — (sometimes reminds me of a third world country where if you want the government to handle your paper in a reasonable period of time you have to slip them some money (Track One fee) under the table)

  3. 1

    Price, time, quality.

    Kappos clearly got the patents out faster at the same cost. What had to suffer?

    1. 1.1

      Kappos implemented a count system that resulted in a net loss of examining hours for a majority of examiners. Price stayed the same, time went down…I’ll let you make your own conclusions about quality.

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