Intellectual Property:

Comparison of Patent Examination Statistics for Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995

RCED-97-58: Published: Mar 13, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO compared the Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office's patent pendency statistics for fiscal years 1994 and 1995, focusing on: (1) overall pendency; (2) patent pendency by examination groups, secrecy orders, foreign applications, and current and original application dates; and (3) patent pendency attributable to applicants.

GAO noted that: (1) patent pendency declined slightly in fiscal year (FY) 1995 in comparison with FY 1994; (2) overall average pendency in FY 1995 was 19.8 months, or 0.4 month less than the 20.2-month average for FY 1994; (3) similarly, pendency declined somewhat for 8 of the 17 examination groups and for foreign applications; (4) pendency remained about the same when the original rather than the current application filing date was used for the calculation; (5) pendency for applications subject to secrecy orders increased, but these applications were so few in number that they had virtually no effect on overall pendency; and (6) GAO also found that the average amount of pendency attributable to the applicant increased from 7.4 months in FY 1994 to 8 months in FY 1995.

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