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Nov 16, 2016Legal
Patexia Insight 20: Comparison of the Art Units Allowance Rates before and after the First Final Rejection

Over the past couple of weeks, our Data Science Team has focused on analyzing the USPTO examiners’ data as well as different Art Units. This week, we decided to compare the allowance rates at different art units before and after the first final rejection. We identified the top five art units with the largest decline in the allowance rates after the first final rejection. It seems that in these art units, extending the examination by filing more office actions may not necessarily change the examiner’s decision after the first final rejection. The first art unit with the highest drop was Art Unit 1661 (Plants). The allowance rate before the first final rejection is 96 percent. However, this rate drops almost 32 percent after the first final rejection.

We also looked at the top five art units with the largest increase in the allowance rate after the first final rejection. 

As we investigated, the data further confirmed that in many cases the examination outcome does not usually improve by filing more office actions.  Different art units seem to show different behaviors. Sometimes more office actions with stronger arguments result in better outcome and sometimes it does not change the outcome.

Art UnitIssuance Before First Final RejectionIssuance After First Final RejectionDeltaNo. of Applications
3626 - Business Practice70%47%23%11,910
1763 - Perfume Composition82%60%23%11,646
1661 - Plants96%64%32%16,511
3622 - Business Practice54%28%26%9,847
3744 - Refrigeration77%52%25%36,808

 

Similarly, we identified the top five art units with the highest increase in the allowance rates after the first final rejection. Art Unit 1632 (Drugs) with 36 percent allowance rate before the first final rejection and 55 percent allowance rate after the first final rejection seem to have the highest increase (19 percent) which means generally working with the examiner and filing the right office actions will result in higher allowance rates.

 

Art UnitIssuance Before First Final RejectionIssuance After First Final RejectionDeltaNo. of Applications
1645 - Drug51%66%15%13,938
1642 - Drug46%60%14%10,900
1632 - Drug36%55%19%10,401
3767 - Surgery40%56%16%5,558
1633 - Chemistry32%48%16%9,892

 

While we see different trends at different art units, the outcome also varies based on the examiner assigned to each application. We have analyzed the data for 8,742 active examiners that are currently working at the USPTO. In total, there were 15,534 examiners with a unique Examiner ID that at some point worked at the USPTO. We have recently released our Examiner Research Tool on Patexia which is available for free. Users can search all the present and past examiners. For each of the examiners, we have calculated the all-time allowance rate as well as the allowance rate before and after the first final rejection. You can compare those numbers with the art unit associated with the examiner as well as the USPTO. This is a useful tool for patent prosecution attorneys and agents as well as in-house IP teams of corporations who would like to gain insights about the examiners and art units associated with their applications and the best strategy to increase the likelihood of allowance for their applications.

This study was based on the latest Patent Examination Research Dataset which was released on the USPTO website. To calculate the highest and lowest allowance rates, we only considered the active Art Units with total number of applications above the median of 5,065. We also excluded Art Units related to the Design Tech Center 2900 since the USPTO does not publish the applications or the stats for abandoned design applications.

 

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