Over at PatentlyO, Dennis Crouch posted some updated statistics about patent allowances, which projects another record year of allowances. In response to last year’s 200,000+ patent allowances, Techdirt‘s Mike Masnick claimed that the patent office was just rubber stamping applications:
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has made it clear that he wanted to US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to clear out some of the backlog on patents, and it quickly became clear early last year that the way the USPTO was doing this was by simply approving more patents while giving less scrutiny to the patents in question — meaning that we’re now getting a ton of bad patents approved.
Unfortunately for Mike, statistics alone don’t actually prove anything about the examination process. Meanwhile, I previously suggested that patent pendency statistics were being skewed by a large number of 30 month abandonments:
Inventors that are strapped for cash after waiting two years for a response from the patent office may not be equipped even to defend themselves, even against specious reasoning used in a first action. Thus, six months after that first action, in other words 30 months after filing, the application would simply go abandoned and would therefore no longer be “pending.” So how many of these types of 30 month abandonments weigh down the overall “pendency” rate?
As it turns out, the data produced by PatentlyO demonstrates exactly what I previously suggested. According to this figure, the abandonment rate, like the allowance rate, is at an all-time high:
- Patent Office Delay Contributing To Small Business Failures? (gametimeip.com)
- Patent Office To Act On Older Applications This Year (gametimeip.com)