In his public blog for the USPTO, David Kappos takes a look back at the accomplishments of 2011. Having had a 5% increase in patent applications over the past year, the USPTO still managed to reduce the backlog of unexamined applications to roughly 665,000 and hopes to continue doing so into the new year.
Kappos reflects on several of the USPTO’s newer programs, including the Green Technology Pilot Program, under which applications pertaining to green technologies may be advanced out of turn. Several patents were attained for technologies pertaining to environmental quality and renewable energy, including a 500th patent for a wind turbine rotor blade.
Another program, the Peer-to-Patent Pilot Program, has helped to improve the US IP process by allowing outside experts on a particular subject to contribute prior art. Kappos notes that it’s an important step towards increasing patent quality and overall transparency.
The recently restored website and USPTO Dashboard have also added to the efficiency of the patent process. The public now has an easy way to navigate the IP system and to also moderate the USPTO’s performance. It stands as a great motivator to those involved in the processes to continue to improve performance and manage how different aspects of the processes are working.
Of course the America Invents Act is mentioned, which was signed into law by President Obama this past September. It has made a tremendous impact on the USPTO, providing it with the necessary resources to issue quality patents quickly and more effectively.
Let’s not forget the success of the 2011 National Trademark Expo, either, which had the highest attendance yet of 15,000 people. There was a 50% increase in the number of exhibitors, all helping to share their knowledge with the public and demonstrate the importance of IP in today’s world.
Overall, 2011 was a year of great accomplishments and continued innovation. Kappos asks that all who are interested in reading into the specifics of these and other successes to take a look at the Performance and Accountability Report for 2011.