We've Already Surpassed Last Year's Patent Totals

from the a-mockery dept

We've already noted early on this year that the USPTO suddenly seemed to be ramping up its patent approval rate this year at an amazingly rapid clip. And now comes the news that we've already passed the number of patents granted last year and are rapidly approaching the highest number of patents approved in a year (we should hit it within a couple weeks)... and then we'll still have two and a half months left. As Patently-O notes:
This dramatic increase in the rate of granting patents is impressive -- especially in light of the fact that during this time, the USPTO eliminated examiner overtime hours for an extended period of time and hired only a handful of new examiners.
In other words, it's exactly what we feared. Under the Kappos' regime at the USPTO, they've decided that the number one problem isn't bad patents, but the time it takes to get a patent. So in order to fix that, it looks like they're basically approving a lot more patents, with a lot less examining. That means, a hell of a lot more bad patents are hitting the market this year. Even if you support the patent system, I can't understand how anyone can not be horrified by this result. Rushing through more patents doesn't help anyone -- except the holders of bad patents. This is dangerous to American innovation -- the one thing that the USPTO is supposed to be helping.

Filed Under: patents, uspto
Companies: uspto


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Oct 2010 @ 2:31pm

    "So you are predicting that since the allowance rate has increase, the quality has surely decreased"

    This is particularly likely, don't you think? There was already a low quality threshold, I don't see how ramping up the approval rate could affect this in a positive way.

    "The USPTO is damned if it does, and damned if it don't (as the saying goes)."

    Not at all. If they start to only approve valid patents that meet their own criteria, they will be applauded. There's no evidence that this is happening, and they have a history of passing patents that are later overturned on points of obviousness or other invalidity.

    All we're asking is that patents that don't end up costing industry millions (either through lawsuits or discouraging innovation) are rejected when they should be.

    "You should wait and see what kinds of "bad" patents come out of this."

    I predict a post in the near future on this site about a bad patent, along with a link to this post with a "see, we told you" kind of comment. Your unfounded optimism is unfortunately less likely to be proven true than Mike's pessimism.

    Feel free to be smug about your prediction if it does come true, but I very much doubt it will.

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