Faster Patent Application Examinations for 2019October 11, 2019

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been working for many years to improve patent examination times. Processing and examining patent applications in a high quality and timely manner has been an important aspect of the USPTO 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. For the 2019 fiscal year ending in September, the USPTO has met their goal for patent prosecution timelines.  Specifically, average total pendency has been reduced to 23.8 months, while average time for first action has dropped to 14.7 months.  This is a big improvement compared to a decade ago when average total pendency was more than 5 years and first action average time was over 27 months.  The Patent Office has reached these goals set by the director, Andrei Iancu, who assumed this role in February 2018, after being in private practice in Los Angeles.  This success is a result of drastically improved analyses, streamlined processes, and clarified approaches that benefit all applications, according to Director Iancu.

When Mr. Iancu assumed his duties at the Patent Office, he stated,  

“Our patent system is the crown jewel that provides both the incentives and the protections necessary to enable innovation and growth. I look forward to working together with my colleagues as we lead the office in a culture of excellence that serves the interests of all of its constituents and the public at large,”

Through the US patent system, the USPTO seeks to advance economic prosperity and support a business environment that protects, cultivates and promotes innovation and entrepreneurship, which in turn, helps grow the economy, create jobs, and ultimately improve the way we all live. 

The USPTO has over 13,000 employees and an annual budget of over $3 billion. During fiscal 2019, the USPTO received more than 665,000 patent applications.


Kirk Hartung is a patent attorney and chair of the mechanical and electrical practice group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit or contact Kirk directly via email at

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