Intellectual Property:

Survey of U.S. Patent Examiners (GAO-16-478SP, June 2016), an E-supplement to GAO-16-479 and GAO-16-490

GAO-16-478SP: Published: Jun 30, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 20, 2016.

Additional Materials:


John Neumann
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Frank Rusco
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This is an e-supplement to GAO-16-479 and GAO-16-490. It provides the results of closed-ended questions from GAO's web-based survey of a stratified random sample of 3,336 eligible patent examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) as of May 2015. The survey was fielded from August to November 2015, and its questions measured examiners' perceptions of (1) PTO's approach to patent quality, (2) challenges PTO faces in finding relevant prior art (e.g., prior patents, patent applications, or non-patent literature), and (3) how PTO might improve patent quality and its prior art search capabilities. We received responses from 2,669 eligible examiners, for an 80 percent response rate. Appendix I of GAO-16-479 and of GAO-16-490 provide more detail on our methodology.

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