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Christopher Holt


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Examiner Statistics: Insight into Prosecution Strategies

There is no way to know for sure whether the applicant could have achieved an allowance had they hung in, but it would have been helpful to know that the examiner was very experienced and likely had decision making authority. Such an observation would have given great insight into the fact that the examiner in question here has an overall allowance rate of nearly 70%. It no doubt would have also been helpful to know that after an interview in over 50% of cases, the next significant event following the interview was an allowance. In short, the statistical data shows that this was an experienced patent examiner who is interested in working with applicants and their representatives to identify allowable subject matter and issue patents where appropriate.

Do Restriction Requirements Vary by Technology Center?

For patent prosecutors and their clients, restriction requirements represent a significant cost increase as splitting one patent application into several new applications results in the multiplication of fees and, often, loss of protection due to expense limitations. The issuance of restriction requirements by patent examiners at the USPTO seems to be somewhat random and inconsistent.

At the Core: Patent Examiner and Art Unit Data Explained

Early in my career, I encountered a series of approximately 20 patent applications that were assigned to a small number of different art units. During the time it took to bring the cases to resolution, I kept detailed notes of my experiences prosecuting each case. It eventually occurred to me that the information I’d collected might be useful to other prosecutors working with the same examiners and/or art units. I wondered whether my colleagues, by reviewing my notes and gaining insight from my experiences, might be able to accomplish resolution more effectively and efficiently. However, the subjective and anecdotal nature of my notes limited their practicality. Recognizing that fact, I began to consider strategies for facilitating ways in which practitioners could more effectively share their prosecution experiences with one another.