The United States Patent and Trademark Office has released its 2012 Performance and Accountability Report. Taking a look back at the fiscal year, this annual report charts the progress of the USPTO in meeting its goals to optimize patent and trademark quality and timeliness and lead in domestic and global improvements in intellectual property policy, protection and enforcement.
Among the accomplishments of 2012 is the historic opening of the first satellite office. The Detroit location officially opened for business in July and was the first of four satellite offices set to function “as hubs of innovation and creativity, helping protect and foster American innovation in the global marketplace, helping businesses cut through red tape and creating new economic opportunities in each of the local communities.”
Also noted in the PAR was the USPTO’s significant reduction in unexamined utility patent applications. Examiners were able to reduce the backlog by more than 140,000 applications since beginning efforts in 2009.
Since implementation of the America Invents Act, the USPTO has addressed issues with key elements of the patent application process and administrative trials proceedings, specifically through the Patent Trial and Appeal Board which now hosts dozens of new administrative patent judges. Key rules have been set into place regarding the application process, and public engagement and input are being solicited and education provided.
The USPTO has positioned itself as one of the five largest patent offices in the world and is currently partnered with 24 other patent offices around the world. This is in part due to the Patent Prosecution Highway program enacted in 2010, which allows for accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between offices.
In the following year, the USPTO will continue to build on their accomplishments and push toward meeting the objectives of the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. Among the challenges up ahead are working to reduce patent pendency while improving the quality of patents and building an expertly-trained and stable workforce.
Director David Kappos also states that the USPTO, “will be proceeding with our fee setting efforts, implementing new training requirements in our patent examining corps, and encountering other challenges as we continue implementing the America Invents Act” and as the office continues to forge ahead in 2013.
For the full report, visit www.uspto.gov or click here.