Inventors pay for patent reform
Since the track-1 program for prioritized examination for patent applications was implemented on September 26, 2011 when president Obama signed the "American Invents Act" into law, approximately 4528 requests for prioritized examination have been made.
Recently a client of mine wished to request a prioritized examination at the time of filing the patent application. As a small entity the base fee for the request is $2400 however, the cost doesn’t stop there because there’s an early publication fee of $300 that’s necessarily added and another processing fee of $130.
Add those fees to the standard $530 to file a patent application and the small entity or independent inventor’s initial cost for patent government fees is set at $3360.
If those 4500 requests were all from small entities the patent office made about $13 million in extra fees in this new program. But I would guess that a big percentage of the requests were large entities because they’re the only ones that can afford these steep fees. Which would mean the government made closer to $26 million.
2925 granted applications and only 129 were dismissed, while 619 applications remain pending. I’m not sure if this data suggests that:
- applications filed with prioritized examination requests are strong applications or
- Are patent applications having prioritized examination getting favorable treatment?
Recently I checked with the USPTO for a status update on a patent application I filed over a year ago and the status reply stated that the patent office will get to my patent application in approximately 39 months. Yes you read that right, 39 months on top of the 12 months that it’s already been pending. That is the equivalent of 4.25 years before the application is considered. Will that technology even be viable in that time?
When you think about it, patents are good for 20 years but technology changes so fast that the time period in which it is a viable asset is probably a lot shorter. We have patent reform but in this case if you really want it, you have to pay for it.