Communications, Staying Current With Filings, Top Patent Office Priorities
“Innovation is the only sustainable source of business. Intellectual property is the instrument of innovation,” stated Director David Kappos of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Kappos delivered a keynote luncheon address at the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law’s 25th Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference on April 8 to a packed room. He discussed some of the problems the office is trying to sort out, as well as the improvements it is making. Among the current objectives of the USPTO are to decrease the backlog of filings and increase the quality of communication with patent applicants.
To make headway on these objectives the USTPO has focused on hiring new examiners who have a background in intellectual property so that the production rate of filings can remain up to speed and backlogs can be reduced. Inexperienced examiners can take up to three years to reach the standard filing production rate, Kappos continued. Additionally, to decrease attrition rates the USTPO is putting efforts into managing and motivating examiners to stay on board.
In order to improve communication, the USTPO has posted a count system feedback site as well as launched an Ombudsman Pilot Program designed to enhance the USPTO’s ability to assist applicants and/or their representatives with issues that arise during patent application prosecution. Anytime there is a delay in a filing, applicants can submit queries and concerns, to which program personnel will respond within 10 days. While this helps the applicant, it also helps the USTPO understand where problems in the process are occurring, and in what areas mentoring and training may be needed.
Overall, Kappos emphasized how important input from the intellectual property community is, and encouraged attendees to share their thoughts with the USTPO.
To learn more about what programs were offered at the meeting go to: http://www.abanet.org/intelprop/