We’re all familiar with Newton’s third law of physics: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, at the USPTO, every office action means additional work for the prosecuting attorney, and thus, additional costs.
We recently highlighted the most difficult examiners at the USPTO based on allowance rate. While allowance rate is a relatively good indicator of the level of difficulty in obtaining a patent, practitioners should also consider the number of office actions an examiner issues when anticipating the prosecution that lies ahead.
Below, we’ve ranked the examiners at the USPTO that issue the most office actions. The examiners are ranked by the average number of OAs issued on applications disposed between 2014-2018.
We should note that some of these same examiners also appeared in our previous 2016 ranking. For this most recent analysis, we focused only on utility and plant patents disposed between 2014-2018, and examiners who had reviewed 100 or more applications during that time frame. With those parameters in mind, we studied data from 7,401 examiners and more than 2 million applications.
In the chart above, each examiner’s current art unit is noted, though that may not necessarily be the art unit they were practicing in for the entirety of the period studied. The examiners in our top 10 largely came from technology center 2100, followed by 3600 and 2800. These three technology centers also held the largest concentration of offending examiners when we expanded our analysis to the top 20 and top 50 examiners.
The examiners ranking in our top 10 averaged 5.3 office actions per application. The all-USPTO average for this period was just 2.1 office actions.
Each additional office action brings more tedious work for your team, which can significantly cut into profit margins. And as we approach the end of the first quarter – which our research shows is consistently among the highest-volume weeks for office actions - it’s imperative you have a streamlined process in place to handle office actions.
Juristat OA Response uses artificial intelligence to simplify the response process, automatically generating a digital packet with all the necessary documentation and background information you need – allowing you to focus on more strategic, valuable work. See what a Juristat OAR packet would look like for your firm.