USPTO Disables First Office Action EstimatorNovember 7, 2023

The USPTO has disabled the widely beloved First Office Action Estimator. The First Office Action Estimator was available to the public. It allowed many of our clients to check the status of their application without needing to communicate with us. The USPTO’s stated reasons for the disabling of the Estimator follow.

“In fiscal year 2021, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) moved to a new methodology for assigning patent applications to patent examiners based on Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC). Since the initial transition, various modifications have been made to the method by which applications are prioritized and docketed for examination. As a result of these changes, the estimates provided by the First Office Action Estimator for individual applications are not representative of expected examination timeframes. While improvements are made to our ability to provide these estimates, this tool will remain disabled. Additional information will be provided here as it becomes available.”

Thus, there is no longer a formal notice or formal public estimate when a patent application is ready to be taken up by a patent examiner. This will undoubtedly frustrate clients and attorneys alike. While attorneys can track the “status” of applications they file, attorneys are given limited abilities to estimate an exact timeframe for a an action by the Patent Office examiner. Until a new estimator is available, a wait time of 6-36 months is generally anticipated. Until publication, the existence of an application is completely private to all except for the attorney of record.

Publication occurs around eighteen months after an application’s initial priority date. This publication date becomes available to attorneys in advance of the official publication. The official publication is forwarded to you by your attorneys once it is made available to them. The publication generates the formal publication document, which is made available by some free-to-use commercial patent databases, like Google Patents. Additionally, it is at this point that the details of the application are accessible to the general public, in particular by way of the USPTO’s PatentCenter.

Gregory Lars Gunnerson is an Intellectual Property 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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