Patent Analytics Provider Tracks “Examiners Who Procrastinate”July 10, 2020

Patent Analytics Provider Juristat blogged on May 28, 2020 that Juristat is capable of tracking procrastination habits of examiners at the USPTO.

To better understand how examiners procrastinate and why some would choose to or choose to avoid doing so requires some background knowledge of how examiners are internally evaluated by the USPTO. Examiner performance is evaluated based on: 35% productivity; 35% quality; 20% docket management; and 10% stakeholder interaction.

To calculate an Examiner’s productivity, an expected number of examining hours (e.g. 72 hours within a two week period) are multiplied by the examiner’s seniority factor and then divided by the technology complexity of the applications being examined. The type of work being performed also factors into productivity. Examiners are awarded more production for first Office actions than subsequent Office actions. Examiners submit time sheets on a bi-weekly basis and activity reports on a quarterly basis.

Toward the end of a quarter, examiners who procrastinate may start to look for “quick wins”, or those actions which require little work but result in a large number of production units. Of note are disposals (e.g., abandonment, allowance, appeal), which count towards production. Some examiners may thus view allowing a case as the most effective means to quickly produce. Other examiners will prefer not to take this approach so as not to sacrifice quality, which still significantly factors into evaluation of the examiner’s overall performance.

Juristat attempts to gauge the unique working habits (i.e. procrastination/quality dichotomy) of each examiner by tracking the examiner’s end-loading rate and end-loading OA success rate. Juristat defines an examiner’s end-loading rate “as the percentage of i) notices of allowance (NOAs) and ii) adverse office actions completed by the examiner in the last 3 weeks of the quarter minus 3/13ths” and an examiner’s end-loading OA success rate change as “the average OA success rate for an examiner in the last three weeks of each quarter over the last three years and subtract their average quarterly OA success rate over the same period.”

Juristat asserts the Examiners who have end-loading rates at less than or equal to 0% and end-loading success rate changes very near 0% ought to be commended. These examiners are not procrastinators, nor do they choose to sacrifice quality near the end of a quarter.

Perceptively, Juristat writes: “Understanding examiner end-loading behavior can help you make more strategic prosecution decisions, getting you closer to an allowance and ultimately, saving money for your client. Let’s say, for example, you discover your examiner becomes substantially easier at the end of the quarter and they have a high allowance rate on interview. Well, it may just be worth picking up the phone to have an interview in the next few weeks.”

McKee, Voorhees & Sease utilizes Juristat to continually evaluate the data provided in order to provide the best possible customer services for our clients. This includes, but is not limited to, evaluating our own work to see areas we can improve, as well as evaluating data associated with examiners to attempt to move forward in the most efficient and successful manner.

Should you find this information of value, or should you have any questions surrounding patent analytics, please consult an MVS attorney.

Gregory “Lars” Gunnerson is a Patent Attorney in the Mechanical and  Electrical Patent Practice Groups at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit or contact Lars directly via email at .

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