A few notes on USPTO Progress

  • 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.
  • Petitions: PTO Dashboard has been updated with petitions information.
  • 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.

13 thoughts on “A few notes on USPTO Progress

  1. 5

    Thanks for the pointer, Les – I’m not sure why they don’t just put everything in one place.

    1. 2.1

      Office forced examiners to work on old rces. Old rces arent worth the counts / effort so the get allowed. Thus fewer rce are filed again and less overall rce

      1. 2.1.1

        That’s C R P

        Do your** Fn job.
        Rubber stamping Accept Accept Accept is every bit as bad as rubber stamping Reject Reject Reject.

        ** the Royal “You,” of course.

  2. 1

    I don’t see any data on 1.181 petitions to invoke supervisory authority to correct the examiner on, say, premature finality….

    I guess such a display would be embarrassing.

    1. 1.1

      It’s located here under After Close of Prosecution / General and Miscellaneous. It shows an average 46-day waiting period for a decision, a 39% grant rate, and is labeled as an infrequently filed petition.

      1. 1.1.1

        46 days for a petition that can’t really be filed until after an advisory action has been received…so, no decision until well into the 6th month….so to wait for the decision means the applicant has to pay a huge late fee if the decision is adverse…. Yeah, that’s fair.


          Yeah, that’s a real problem. I try to flag these situations early, so that I can respond to the Final Office Action quickly, and get the Advisory Action in the 2nd or 3rd month. I’ve prevailed on several, where it was ridiculously obvious that the finality was premature. I’ve had to make a few phone calls in some cases to get the petition decision out. It can be worthwhile, in cases where you have amendments you’d like to get entered. Otherwise, of course, it doesn’t matter – just file the notice of appeal.

      2. 1.1.2

        But thanks for the directions… would never have found it otherwise…after the close of prosecution…. really…

      3. 1.1.3

        Petitions for extension of time are also listed as “infrequently filed,” for what that’s worth.


          That’s specifically for extensions of time under 37 CFR 1.136(b), which really are rare – I’m not even really sure what situations would arise for 1.136(b) to be used. The commonly used rule is 1.136(a), which they don’t bother listing on the website because they are granted automatically.


            Actually, they do list automatically granted petitions, I saw them somewhere…I can’t say if extensions of time were included though.

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