This comment was posted by an Patent Examiner at Patent Prospector. The Examiner explains why he thinks the allowance rates are so low and his explanation is consistent with my post, Patent Allowance Rate Falls to 42%.
I believe that the allowance rate is artificially low, although not due to churning…at least not exactly.
I am a current examiner. Under Dudas, the PTO pursued a policy of “increased patent quality”. The way that the PTO enforced this quality initiative was by reviewing office actions. Not reviewing all office actions, mind you, but only reviewing allowances.
Unfortunately, the PTO failed to see the problem that they were setting up. An examiner is then left with two choices:
1) An examiner could generate rejections without ever incurring quality review, or
2) An examiner could generate an allowance that would be scrutinized by quality review and possibly find themselves assessed a quality review error.
So, it has been safer for an examiner to always reject…at least until very recently. There has been some loosening of the allowance quality review rules in recent weeks as it appears that “reduced pendency” is the new key motivation under Obama.
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