Thursday, January 31, 2019

5 Types of Patent Examiners – Master, Ideologue, Decider, Negotiator, and Granter

Any patent attorney knows that the behavior of patent examiners can vary greatly.  In this article, I describe 5 different types of patent examiners and suggest prosecution strategies for each to help you get better outcomes for your clients.  For each type, I include details of an actual patent examiner from Patent Bots examiner statistics.

The Master

The Master is a patent examiner with a low grant rate but who is also exceptionally good at his or her job.  Masters are able to find good prior art for just about every patent application that comes across their desk, and they thus have high affirmance rates on appeal.

Here is an example grant rate timeline for a Master:

This grant rate timeline shows the percentage of cases that are allowed (green), pending (yellow), and abandoned (red) at each month after the first office action.  This Master has allowed only 2.5% of applications at 3 years after the first office action and is in the 97th percentile for examiner difficulty across the USPTO.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Easy PAIR Access for Each Examiner's Applications

One useful strategy in responding to office actions is to see what arguments other attorneys have used to convince the patent examiner to allow claims. You can then try to use similar arguments to get claims allowed for your client. To facilitate this strategy, Patent Bots examiner statistics includes a list of recent dispositions for each examiner. Here is an example for one examiner:

Previously, you would use the publication number to find the IFW on the USPTO's PAIR website and then download office actions and responses. We are happy to report that we now do this for you! After each application, there is button to view the PAIR IFW right on the Patent Bots website (and a button to view it on Google Patents). Here is an example of a Patent Bots page with the IFW for a patent application:

The first column has the basic details of the patent application, and the second column has the IFW. By default, we hide some of the things that you probably don't care about, but you can see the entire IFW by using the button there.

In this case, there was a final rejection, the attorney filed after-final response, and the examiner then allowed the claims. If you had a case pending before this examiner, you might want to look at the arguments that attorney used to persuade the examiner to allow your claims.

We plan on expanding upon this in the future. For example, for each office action, we are planning to list the rejections (e.g., 101, 102, 103, or 112) in the table. That way, you can more quickly find successful attorney arguments on the issue you are facing.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Massive Speed Improvements in Processing Patent Applications

N. Tesla Speed Indicator Patent
Patent Bots was already the fastest gun in the west for automated patent proofreading. In a previous comparison with a competitor, we were 33 times faster over 100 random applications. Not being content with that, we've more than doubled our speed.

There are two ways we can make our processing faster: (1) hardware and (2) algorithms.

For hardware, we've upgraded are servers to double the processing speed. It costs us more money, but our customers are worth it. Our goal is to save you time and make you as efficient as possible.

On the algorithm side, we've greatly increased the efficiency of processing Microsoft Word documents. You'll especially notice the improvements when processing longer patent applications.

With these improvements, we were able to proofread the claims of a 543 page patent application in 23 seconds! By contrast, opening this patent application in Microsoft Word on my Mac took more than two and half minutes to completely open the document.

Our processing of reference labels is slower than processing the claims (since we need to do more processing of entire specification), but we are working on improving our speed of processing reference labels as well.