The USPTO is the “ruling” partyOct 2006 – This article originally appeared in issue 20 of Intellectual Asset Management magazine, published by Globe White Page in London, UK (www.iam-magazine.com)
The USPTO is in the final stages of approving three rule change packages that will, if enacted in their present form, have a dramatic effect on US patent prosecution strategy and portfolio development. However, the USPTO is planning to propose even further rule changes over the next 12 months aimed at shifting more of the examination burden from the USPTO to patent applicants. Under the banner of “improving US patent quality”, the USPTO’s main thrust is to reduce the backlog of unexamined applications. Improving quality and reducing backlog are worthy goals, but the proposed rules largely ignore other important considerations, namely budgets and patent enforceability.