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United States Patent and Trademark Office

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is known for granting large numbers of software patents.

According to a 2004 paper by Bessen and Hunt, the USPTO approves about 70 software patents per day. (see page 47) Other sources have said that in 2006 the USTPO granted just over 40,000 software patents,[1] which is 110 per day, seven days per week.

The USPTO is an agency of the US government's Department of Commerce.

Specifically excluded

In the USA, according to the USPTO, " has been held that the laws of nature, physical phenomena and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter."[2]

Examination guidelines

Key people

The Director of the USPTO, since August 2009, is David Kappos.[4] Kappos previously worked for IBM as vice president for intellectual-property law.[5]

Quality declining, allowance rate increasing

Despite the USPTO's public comments about improving examination, it appears the real change is that quality has actually dropped. A 2013 study found that the "allowance rate" increased by 20% from 2009 to 2012.[6] By 2014, 92% of patent applications were being approved.[7] (54% are approved on the first request, the others are approved after being refiled with changes.)

This confirms that legislation such as the America Invents Act are so watered-down and corrupted that they have no positive effect. Reform doesn't work; we need to exclude software from the patent system.

Examiners stuck for time

Examiners in the USPTO have on average 20 hours to examine each application.[8]

Procedural notes

More info sought: there is an "Office of First Filing" and an "Office of Second Filing".[9]

Accessing application documents

There are three ways to access USPTO application documents:

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links

USPTO documents

Third party documents