Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Predicting Future Patent Outcomes

This article originally appeared on IP Watchdog.

For patent examiners, past performance is indicative of future results.  Because of this, many patent practitioners use services that provide statistics about patent examiners to improve their prosecution strategy.  The most commonly used statistic is a grant rate or allowance rate that provides insight into the difficulty of an examiner.  This statistic looks backward to tell you what percentage of applications that have already been disposed, were granted (granted/(granted + abandoned)).  I’ll call this the backward grant rate.

In this article, I compute a “three-year grant rate” that shows the probability of obtaining a granted patent within three years of the first office action.  This three-year grant rate tells you how difficult an examiner is and when you can expect to be granted a patent.  For example, for examiner DY (more details on this examiner below), the three-year grant rate tells you that you have an 18% chance of getting a patent within three years of the first office action.  I will compare the three-year grant rate to the conventional backward grant rate and demonstrate how it is a more accurate measure of examiner difficulty.

Here is an example of a grant rate timeline across the entire USPTO: