Welcome to our Examination Time Analysis (ETA) Community.

In this community, you can submit ideas, vote on existing ideas, or add comments related to examination time goals. The Office published a Federal Register Notice on October 25, 2016 to announce the effort to external stakeholders and obtain their feedback.

The Office has generated a list of questions concerning examination time goals to further inform comments. Responders can choose to address as many of these questions as desired. Responders are not limited to submitting information addressing these questions. The Office welcomes any other comments on the topic of Examination Time Goals that may be informative, for example those that facilitate an understanding of the interests of stakeholders with respect to quality, pendency, and cost for services. A further area of inquiry seeks to shed light on other characteristics of patent applications, besides technological complexity, which lead to a more time-consuming examination.

To submit an idea, please click the Submit New Idea button at the top of the navigation sidebar. You will also have the option to add tags to the idea. To vote on an idea, simply click the up or down arrows to the right of the idea title/description. And to add a comment, click in the box below the idea. If you would like to see all ideas created with a specific tag, you can click on the word or phrase via the tagcloud in the navigation sidebar area under "What we're discussing". You can also view ideas sorted by Campaigns from the right navigation area. To return to this page, click the All Ideas link.

For additional information on the Examination Time Analysis and other opportunities to participate, please click HERE.

Request for Comments on Examination Time Goals

Spend more time on 1st Office Actions

I recently worked for a firm that examines PCT applications under contract to the USPTO. My job required me to write very detailed office actions, mapping every element of every claim to a corresponding element in the prior art references. It does not seem to me that examiners for US applications put as much care into their examinations. I often get rejections that are very vague, with several claims lumped together, ...more »

Submitted by (@lhsherikar)
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Cost, pendency, and time

"Keyword Hits" Are No Substitute for Actual Thought

Far too many examiners equate a high level of "keyword hits" with "anticipation" or "obviousness," with no evidence they understand what they are talking about. Just string some keywords together, and hey presto! It's obvious! My apologies for being so blunt, but this is a real problem. The Office should be embarrassed by the quality of many office actions. The "keyword hit" attitude of many examiners is often impervious ...more »

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Request for Comments on Examination Time Goals

After final review

I work in relatively simple technologies for small inventors. The after final process has become somewhat useless. The Examiner's do not receive sufficient time to adequately review an after final response and the Examiner's typically provide a pro forma response that does not help advance prosecution. This leaves the small inventor with basically one chance to provide a substantive response before they must either ...more »

Submitted by
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Quality in complex technologies

Senior Patent Analyst

Our company deals with Computer Software technology (G06). Yes there is a difference. In established technologies (e.g. SOA) the quality is good, however in more complex technologies (e.g. CEP) the quality varies considerably depending on the individual examiner - generally only average requiring multiple office actions before the examiner understands the technology being presented. Frequently examiners fall back on combining ...more »

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Request for Comments on Examination Time Goals

Eliminate delays for “Non-Compliant Responses”, e.g. a lack of “

When examiners make an obvious and innocent clerical error, applicants take it in stride. For example an applicant will respond “The office action mistakenly identifies Claim 7 as an independent claim and relies on Baker reference as 102 prior art. This is an obvious clerical error by the examiner as Claim 7 is a dependent claim. Thus, for this response, applicant will respond as if the examiner had grouped Claim ...more »

Submitted by (@charles.leahy)
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Allocating Time for Examination Activities

Add Information Technology Experts in the Process

My idea is to give expert consultants to examiners at the first office action that can fully explain the fundamentals of the technology they are examining. Then if needed, allow the expert to have conf call with the examiner and the applicant. This will save months of examining high technology applications and save much resources for examiners in the long run. In this modern age, we cannot expect examiners to keep ...more »

Submitted by (@junaid.ali)
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