by Dennis Crouch
I recently posted a chart showing that there is a significant difference in technology focus of patents tied to US-Inventors as compared with Non-US-inventors. The following chart looks at the file histories of U.S. patents and asks what percentage received a rejection prior to issuance (blue) and what percentage received a Section 101 rejection prior to issuance (issued patents 2015-2020). Overall, 83% of the patents received some sort of rejection prior to issuance. The vast majority of these rejections are based upon prior art – and are primarily Section 103 obviousness rejections. 13% of these patents were rejected on eligibility grounds prior to issuance.
Applications from US Inventors were significantly more likely to be rejected on eligibility than non-US Inventors (15% vs 10%). However, that difference can be fully explained by differences in the types of patents being obtained. For example, US applications are much more likely to patent in the business-method group (as well as 8 of the top-9 art unit groups most likely to receive 101 rejections). But, within the art units groups, there is typically no difference between US and Non-US inventions in terms of eligibility rejections. Thus, for my sample of business method patents, 75% of the patents in each group (US and Non-US inventors) received an eligibility rejection. The data do reveal some outliers. In 1660-plants, non-us-inventor patents received 15% more eligibility rejections than us-inventor patents; while in 2760-printers & graphics, non-us-inventor patents received 10% fewer.