I found an interesting article on USPTO patent backlog problem and what steps it has already taken or about to take to minimize the patent pendency period. I thought of sharing the same with the team here.
Some notable findings were:
1. USPTO has close to 1.2 million pending patent applications by the end of 2008.
2 Close to 0.8 million patent applications are waiting for USPTO examiner’s first action!
3. The average patent pendency period has remained almost the same over years i.e. 32.3 months in 2005 and 32.2 months in 2008.
To solve the above said problems USPTO is working on work sharing basis with German patent office in a so called Patent Prosecution Highway program. Patent prosecution highway programs allow applicants who receive a ruling on at least one claim in a patent application submitted to one agency to ask the participating agency or agencies to fast-track examination of the patent.
The USPTO has a permanent patent prosecution highway program with the Japan patent office and Korean intellectual property office.