Monday, January 27, 2020

USTPO Group and Art Unit Predictor

We are excited to announce a new product to help you get better outcomes for your clients! The new product is our Art Unit Predictor. It will process a draft of your patent application and predict which group and art unit your patent application will be assigned to.

As we've posted about before, the grant rate of different art units and examiners can vary greatly. The most difficult art unit is art unit 3689 with a grant rate of 4%, and the easiest art unit is art unit 1661 with a grant rate of 95%. Many patent applications do not fall neatly into a single art unit and could potentially be assigned to different ones. Our Art Unit Predictor will help you guide your application to an art unit that is appropriate for your invention.

In my own practice, I had an invention that was an application of machine learning that was assigned to business method art unit 3689 with a grant rate of 4%. In my opinion, the application did not belong in a business method art unit.

Here are the prediction results for this application as filed:

The predicted art units are all business method art units with low grant rates. The actual assigned art unit for this application was the second one listed above.

Our predictor also tells you the words that were important in making the prediction so that you can edit your claims to target a different art unit. As an experiment, I made the following changes:
  • customer -> user
  • customer service representative -> agent
  • intent -> natural language intent
After making these changes, the predicted groups and art units changed drastically:

Now, none of the predicted art units are business method art units! If I only I had this tool at the time...

Note that our predictions are not always correct, but it is very likely that your application will be assigned to one of the 3 predicted groups and one of the 5 predicted art units.

Our Art Unit Predictor is most effective at helping ensure that your application is assigned to art unit whose technology matches the subject matter of the invention. If your invention truly is a business method, then you will have a hard time getting it assigned elsewhere. But if your application shouldn't be in a business method art unit, then our Art Unit Predictor can help you get better outcomes for your clients.