Congress passed the America Invents Act (AIA) roughly two years ago. However, many of the law’s provisions only became effective on March 16, 2013.
In a recent forum to mark the milestone, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) heralded the progress made thus far. “The AIA has contributed to a more internationally harmonized, more predictable, and more flexible patent system for the United States, and one that is much more responsive to 21st century realities,” Acting USPTO Director Teresa Stanek Rea stated.
Below are several of the specific achievements outlined by the USPTO:
Continued reduction of the patent backlog: The existing backlog has declined 18 percent since 2009, despite a continuing growth in filings. Patent activity increased seven percent this year alone.
Decrease in patent pendency: The Track One program has helped to decrease application pendency by giving inventors a final decision in approximately six months. This compares to an overall total pendency of 29.5 months for standard patent applications.
Improved patent quality: Patent quality continues to improve with the pre-issuance submission provision in the AIA for third parties to submit prior art. The USPTO has received more than 900 submissions so far, and its examiners have found them to be useful during examination.
Post-grant administrative review proceedings: The USPTO reports that it has received more than 500 submissions for inter partes reviews and covered business method reviews.
Satellite offices: The USPTO credits its new satellite offices in Dallas, Denver, Detroit, and Silicon Valley with reducing the inventory of appeal cases and AIA trials.