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Archived updates for Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not All Patent Counts are Created Equal Under the USPTO's Proposed Continuation Rules

As discussed by Just A Patent Examiner on October 20, 2007, Examiners are graded on the number of applications they process. Each time an application is taken up for examination, they get credit for that, called a 'count'. When that application reaches some final resolution, either through abandonment, allowance, or appeal, the examiner gets a second count. For anything that happens between those two events, the examiner gets no count:

Not all counts are created equal. Some counts are easy, and some are hard.
In general, the hard count is the first action on the merits. Any count after
that is what I would call, to varying degrees, easy. . . . New examiners do not get any easy counts. This means that they must cut off their search when the production timer goes off. They pay for that down the line when they sometimes must do additional searching on subsequent actions, but they have no choice.

Which brings me to the new continuations rules.

I'm not going to bother going into the details. Suffice it say that, as we all know, there are going to be fewer RCEs and continuations filed in the future (assuming that the challenges to the new rules are unsuccessful).

Fewer RCEs and continuations means fewer easy counts. This will certainly make it tougher to make up the time spent doing those hard counts.

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