February 22, 2010

The USPTO announced on Thursday, February 18, 2010, that its planned examiner count system revisions announced September 30, 2009, have taken effect. According to the USPTO Press Release (available HERE), "[t]he count system is the methodology for determining the amount of time in which a patent examiner is expected to complete a patent examination and the credit that is given for each stage of an examination," and that "[t]hese changes, announced in conjunction with the Patent Office Professional Association (POPA), the union that represents patent examiners, place emphasis on complete and thorough initial examination, and are expected to decrease redundancy and encourage quicker resolution of issues in the patent application process." The count revisions, according to the USPTO, are to address improved working conditions (incentivizing examiners to produce "high-quality" first actions), provide more time for the examiners while decreasing credits on RCEs, and providing process changes to "increase work credit certainty for examiners, increase fairness to applicants, and balance the load on IT systems." Additional details are provided in the announcement itself.

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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