The Easiest Examiners at the USPTO
If you find yourself in front of an examiner with a high allowance rate, first, breathe a sigh of relief. Then, consider the next steps in your prosecution strategy.
We recently published a list of the Most Difficult Examiners, listing the 25 examiners with the lowest allowance rates at the USPTO. Now we’re looking at the inverse, the 25 USPTO examiners with the highest allowance rates, and how this metric can shape your prosecution strategy.
To determine our list, we analyzed the allowance rates of examiners who had reviewed 100 or more applications disposed between 2017-2021. We limited this analysis to utility and plant applications, excluding design patents, reissues, re-examinations, and provisional applications. Additionally, we excluded Supervisory Patent Examiners from this analysis. This analysis was conducted based on public data available in April 2023.
Of the nearly 7,400 examiners that fit our parameters, 139 had less than a 25% allowance rate, and 865 had less than a 50% allowance rate. The current average allowance rate at the USPTO is 74%.
Like the most difficult examiners, the Top 25 easiest examiners are a tenured group, with 24 of the 25 having worked at the USPTO for over 10 years.
That may be where the comparisons stop, though. Where the most difficult examiners found themselves heavily weighted to the Alice-prone TC 3600, 22 out of the 25 easiest examiners work in TC 2800, focused on semiconductors, electrical and optical systems, and components.
TC 2800 is the busiest technology center at the USPTO, with the most filings year after year. The current allowance rate in TC 2800 is 86%, the highest of all the technology centers for utility patents.
If you find yourself before an easy examiner, it is not just time to celebrate. It is time to plan the next steps in your strategy:
- Use this data to manage client expectations, updating them on the potential for success and estimated timeline. Of course, a high allowance rate doesn’t necessarily guarantee a swift prosecution. Ensure you familiarize yourself with other examiner metrics such as months to disposition, average office actions, and end-loading rate.
- Strategically divert resources. For every easy prosecution, there is a more difficult one looming or already on your docket. Why not use this as an opportunity for newer staff to gain experience, while your more seasoned staff can focus on more complex proceedings?
- File a CON when your examiner has a high allowance rate. When working with an examiner with a high allowance rate, you want to take full advantage of the elevated possibility of an NOA. You can prosecute more ambitiously by identifying applications before these easy examiners, pushing the envelope from the start. Why not cover more in your application by filing a continuation to expand the patent family? With Juristat’s custom alerts, you can also include a condition related to the examiner’s RCE allowance rate, ensuring that the examiner’s favorable allowance rate extends to continuations.
- Know when it's time to abandon. If this examiner normally has a high allowance rate and quick timeline to disposition, but you are struggling to earn that NOA, there may be a more significant issue at play. This is a great time to review other metrics, such as examiner maximum allowed office actions, to avoid a high-cost prosecution.
With Juristat’s industry-leading database of advanced examiner analytics, attorneys can create detailed prosecution strategies for every examiner at the USPTO. Practitioners can specifically tailor their responses based on how examiners have reacted to past, similar applications.
Make sure you’re not missing an opportunity with an “easy” examiner. Learn how examiner analytics can improve your prosecution strategy by setting up a call today.