By: Sunil Chacko, Associate
The Citizen Centric Report put out annually by the Advisory Committee highlights the USPTO’s performance for the previous year and its goals for the upcoming year. This year’s report focused on the USPTO initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USPTO performance, and its management challenges for the upcoming year.
Like all government agencies the USPTO made adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on the authority granted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the USPTO temporarily extended deadlines for filing many patent and trademark documents and fees.
Additionally, to encourage research into potential treatment for COVID-19 the USPTO created the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program which enables small and micro entities to accelerate prosecution, at no charge, for inventions that are subject to approvals by the Food and Drug Administration for use in treating COVID-19. Additionally the USPTO launched the Patents 4 Partnership website, which was designed to connect patentees with potential licensees.
The USPTO’s key performance measures from the report are reproduced below.
The number presented above show a slight improvement in patent actions mailed out within statutory time frames and an improvement in patent practitioner’s satisfaction with overall quality of patent examination. Trademarks however, shown an increase in the average number of months before a trademark is initiated (i.e., 3 months) and a slight decrease in quality of first office actions for trademarks issue by the USPTO.
Challenges for the Upcoming Year
The USPTO has identified the following items challenges for the upcoming year:
- Maintaining stable and sustainable funding and continuing to optimize the management of the USPTO’s financial resources
- Enhancing IT capabilities and infrastructure
- Managing ongoing legal challenges, specifically cases question the USPTO’s process for appointing administrative patent and trademark judges.
We will keep an eye out further release and statements by the Advisory Committee and the USPTO to keep you informed on any further developments or statements that may be beneficial to your organization.