Thursday, October 1, 2009

USPTO working on ways to cut backlog

The USPTO is hoping to improve employee morale and cut back on its not-insignificant patent application backlog by revising the "count system" (a modified GSA pay schedule that includes pay incentives for patent examiners) along with some procedural changes in the examination process.

The Washington Post reports today that top brass on the patent side of the USPTO are working with the examiners' union to increase incentives for examiners to quickly and accurately work through applications. According to the USPTO press release, the changes will actually allow examiners more time to work on applications, but will provide opportunities for examiners to communicate with applicants before they begin the examination. Examiners will also get more credits for acting on an application early and fewer credits for recommending further examination.

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