The U.S. Patent Office Is ImprovingMay 17, 2017

The Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in remarks yesterday to the George Washington School of Law, noted numerous improvements and initiatives at the Patent Office to improve the patent process, such as:

  • Time from filing to first action has decreased 43% in the past 5 years, from 28 months in 2011 to 16 months now.
  • Time from filing to final office action/allowance has been reduced 26%, from 25 months in 2010 to 26 months now.
  • Unexamined applications have decreased 30% from 2009 to 2016, even with a 32% increase in application filings.
  • Appeal pendency has decreased from 28 months to 19 months in the past few years.

In short, she explained that more inventors are getting more patents more quickly, and patent quality has increased.

In conclusion Director Lee stated, “In closing, we all want what’s best for this country’s inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. Because it is through their efforts that our country remains at the forefront – economically and globally. Simply stated—and I think President Trump and Secretary Ross would agree—we want the United States to out-innovate and out-perform our global competitors, producing new jobs and new technologies and new industries that benefit all Americans, including individual inventors and those in our small businesses and startups. Let’s not forget that the modest businesses and unknown inventors of today may become the largest and most well-known drivers of our economy tomorrow. To make that happen, Congress, the courts, the administration (especially the USPTO), and even all of you here today, must all work together to make sure the system envisioned by our Founding Fathers lives up to its purpose to promote innovation. You have the commitment of the entire USPTO team that we will play our part to ensure that we continue to incentivize the kind of innovations that make our lives better and safer And that put men and women—like Mr. Iver Anderson with his lead-free solder—in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Our future depends upon it. Thank you.”

Kirk Hartung is an Intellectual Property Attorney in the Mechanical Patent Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit or contact Kirk directly via email at



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