Under the microscope: patent quality at the USPTO


Under the microscope: patent quality at the USPTO

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The US Patent and Trademark Office has been asked by a government agency to implement reforms in order to boost patent quality, but will the office agree, and what would the proposals change in practice? WIPR investigates.

It’s a land filled with rising patent lawsuits and ever more vehement plaintiffs. The steady increase in patent-related litigation on US shores has been at the forefront of industry professionals’ minds for many years.

As lawsuits continue to rise nationally, there has been a notable increase in cases filed at a traditionally popular venue, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Statistics published in July from the US’s Government Accountability Office (GAO), as well as data from patent monitoring organisation Unified Patents, show that 50% of all US patent lawsuits were filed in the court last year.

According to the GAO, which acts as the “investigative arm of Congress”, the number of patent lawsuits nationally increased from around 2,000 in 2007 to 5,000 in 2015, with the Texas court continuing to bear the brunt of cases. The number of named defendants overall in that time frame also rose, from approximately 5,000 to 8,000.

US Patent and Trademark Office, supervisory patent examiners, patent, GAO, Michael Powell, Alice, Mayo, Myriad,