By: Mark R. Malek
In my morning slew of emails that I receive regarding intellectual property updates, I noticed that Dennis Crouch, author of Patently-O posted an article that he projects that the USPTO will issue more than 250,000 patents in 2012. My initial reaction was “Holy Crap,” but that made me immediately go check the backlog.
You may recall that the USPTO has provided the patent dashboard to the public which gives us a great view of the status of the patent backlog. According to the patent dashboard, we are now down to a patent application backlog of 627,367 patent applications. That is down significantly from the 900,000+ patent applications that I remember being pending with Director Kappos took over. Say what you will about the management of the patent office, but I look at the patent backlog as having been the single biggest issue with the USPTO and, somehow, Director Kappos and his team have found a way to put a significant dent in it.
Undoubtedly, there have been a number of changes over the past few years under his leadership. For the most part, I believe they have been good ones. The questions remains, however, as to whether or not the Patent Office is equipped to handle the many changes coming down the pike with the America Invents Act. A great article about one of the biggest issues facing the USPTO, i.e., the underfunding of the USPTO, can be found here. Although the America Invents Act moves funding of the USPTO a step in the right direction, it is not all the way there yet.