Filings Down?: USPTO expects application filings for FY2015 to be down 1.8% from FY2014. Most of this downward trend is in Request-for-Continued-Examination (RCEs) that the office usually counts as application filings. RCEs filings are down about 6% from FY2014 meaning that actual application filings have roughly held steady from FY2014.
Money Still There: Despite the drop in filings, fee collections are up over $3 billion. The USPTO is on schedule to spend about $200 million more than it collects – eating away about 1/3 of its operating reserve fund.
Ex Parte Appeals Backlog: For the first time in a decade, the backlog of ex parte appeals before the PTAB have begun to drop and are now below 23,000 pending cases. The appeals process is still about 2-years too long.
USPTO Solicitor Nathan Kelley is serving as the Acting Chief Administrative Judge of the PTAB as the PTO searches for a replacement for Chief Judge Smith. Although it is unclear to me, I expect that Kelley did go through the Constitutionally required appointment process.