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Archived updates for Monday, December 10, 2007

Not All Patent Applications Are Created Equal

According to the USPTO's Patent Public Advisory Committee Annual Report for November 30, 2007,

Not all applicants require the same turnaround. Even individual applicants may not need identical timing on each application filed. As a public entity, the USPTO cannot duplicate all the flexibilities available to private-sector entities. However, it is possible that one size does not fit all in the patent system.

A needs-based approach would provide the Office with a market-driven pendency system that fulfills the needs of the vast majority of the applicants while ensuring that the Office does not have to provide unnecessary, costly and arbitrarily short examination times while providing a realistic base for all non-essential applications.[Footnote 12: Restrictions should be put in place to prevent applicants from opting for longer pendency times solely as a means of expanding the scope of filed claims and reintroducing "submarine patents" back into the system.] Therefore the Committee recommends that the Office develop an exploratory, data driven, market based examination model for evaluation, taking fully into account the needs of the public and third parties. Again, all successful business organizations have market based delivery models that provide for the needs of their constituents, the Committee believes that the Office would be well served to evaluate such models itself.

The Patent Public Advisory Committee was created to advise Congress on the "policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office with respect to patents." The Committee’s duties include the preparation of an annual report submitted to the Secretary of Commerce, the President, and the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
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