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Archived updates for Thursday, January 27, 2005

USPTO Annual Report Highlights

Here are a few highlights from the "United States Patent and Trademark Office Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2004:"

Patent Allowance Error Rates Were Up:

"While the USPTO fell short of its FY 2004 quality target, much of this is due to the intense focus on quality and the significant implementation of all the quality initiatives. The implemented quality initiatives are expected to produce long-term quality improvements as the knowledge, skills, and abilities of our employees are upgraded, helping us to achieve our quality goal."

Patent First Action Pendency Was Up:

"Target met. The initiatives identified in the USPTO 21st Century Strategic Plan will continue to reduce patent pendency, substantially cut the size of the work backlog, and recover our investments in people, processes, and technology."

Total Patent Pendancy Was Up:

"Target met. The initiatives identified in the USPTO 21st Century Strategic Plan will, over several years, reduce total patent pendency."

Trademark First Action Pendancy Was Up:

"Target not met. Although the trademark organization fully met and exceeded production output targets, new application filings drove first action pendency above target. New application filings were 11.7% above the prior year and 9.7% above target. Process changes introduced in the fourth quarter further contributed to the increase in first action pendency results. Current plans, assuming sufficient funding, are to hire additional examiners in FY 2005 to address the increase in filings which will improve first action pendency."

Total Trademark Pendancy Was Stable:

"Target met. Production and office disposals were above plan, which reduced disposal and registration pendency."

During fiscal year 2004, the USPTO granted 187,170 patents, including 169,296 utility (inventions), 16,533 design, and 998 plant patents. U.S. resident inventors received 97,913 U.S. patents in fiscal year 2004. California resident inventors received the highest share (23 percent, 22,389 patents) of these patents, followed by inventors from New York (7 percent, 6,788 patents), Texas (7 percent, 6,424 patents), Michigan (4 percent, 4,260 patents), and Massachusetts (4 percent, 4,109 patents).

The USPTO registered 155,991 trademarks and renewed 34,735 registrations in fiscal year 2004. At the end of the fiscal year, there were 1,216,691 active trademark registrations.

"A strong economy, a vibrant economy, depends directly on effective protection of new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas, in a press release accompanying the report. "The continuing demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs."
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