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USPTO Released Its 2016 Performance and Accountability Report

January 13, 2017
Post by Jonathan L. Kennedy

The USPTO published its annual Performance and Accountability Report for the 2016 fiscal year. The Report tracks "agency's progress toward meeting goals outlined in our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan: optimizing patent quality and timeliness; optimizing trademark quality and timeliness; and providing domestic and global leadership to improve intellectual property policy, protection, and enforcement worldwide.‚¬  Thus, the Report contains a variety of information including financials such as the USPTO's annual revenue expenses, number of filings, time until first office action, average application pendency time, other performance specifics, changes in case law, and plans for the future.  We've summarized some of the interesting points below.  However, there is plenty more to ponder in the Report itself.

Select Patent Statistics

  • There was a 5.2% increase in the number of patent filings with 650,411 in 2016. For contrast, 2015 had 618,062.
  • The average time until a first office action in a patent application was reduced to 16.2 months from 17.3 months in 2015; the goal was 14.8 months or less.
  • The average pendency of a patent application was reduced to 25.3 months from 26.6 in 2015; the goal was 25.4 months or less.

Select Trademark Statistics

  • There was also a 5.2% increase in the number of trademark filings with 530,270 in 2016. For contrast, 2015 had 503,889.
  • The average time until a first office action in a trademark application was 3.1 months meeting the goal of 2.5-3.5 months.
  • The average pendency of a trademark application was reduced to 9.8 months from 10.1 months in 2015; the goal was 12 months or less.

Fees and Finances

  • The USPTO $3,133.4 million in fees from the patent and trademark services, which was $59.4 million more than 2015 - a 1.9% increase.
  • Of the $3,133.4 million in fees, $786.2 million was from fee collections that were deferred for revenue recognition in prior fiscal years.
  • Of the $3,133.4 million in fees, $1,212.2 million was from maintenance fees.
  • Of the $3,133.4 million in fees, 91.1% was from patent-related items.
  • Of the $3,133.4 million in fees, 8.9% was from trademark-related items.


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