Chris and Megan search through image file wrapper documents for oddities ranging from typographical errors to name-calling. Have you ever wondered how many times applicants lost their temper with the examiner on the record? Which art units issue the most rejections for typos? Channel your inner 10-year-old and tune in, or run some searches yourself in PatentAdvisor's PatDocSearch!
Chris and Megan pinpoint 5 prosecution scenarios where a strategy change may be necessary in light of the statistics. Like football, prosecution is a back-and-forth between the examiner and the applicant that requires constant reevaluation. For example, even when appeal may seem like the most favorable route substantively – or instinctively – if the statistics are not in your favor, it may make sense to continue working with the examiner.
Chris and Megan discuss the importance of examiner experience in shaping prosecution strategy. Experience level is one of the factors in the calculation of ETA, PatentAdvisor’s proprietary metric that predicts the probability and difficulty of allowance, and it matters for reasons beyond the obvious. In addition to simply being new to the process, early career examiners also carry the burden of a disproportionately large docket. If a new examiner chooses to churn through their docket instead of focusing on a handful of applications, their grant rate will be significantly slower than average.
Chris and Megan dive into the prosecution histories of several patents featured on the "Stupid Patent of the Month" blog. The blog was created before Alice to shine the spotlight on (arguably) overbroad software patents, but even after Alice the authors have continued to uncover issuances with broad or seemingly obvious claims. An analysis of the last 20 patents featured in the blog indicates that these applications may have gotten through the USPTO by avoiding the Alice-heavy - or "doom" - art units.
Chris and Megan discuss the sequel to Moneyball, in which Michael Lewis points out flaws in human decision-making that have applicability to patent prosecution. Like most experts, patent practitioners have inherent biases that can negatively impact their strategic decision-making. And just like the sports industry, the patent industry is undergoing a revolution due to the emergence of data that can help mitigate these biases.
Chris introduces Megan to a revolutionary way of measuring patent examiner behavior: ETA (Examiner Time Allocation). Unlike allowance rate, ETA provides an estimate of both the chances of and time to allowance. And because it is based solely upon the examiner's own behavior, it is not biased by abandonments out of the examiner’s control.
Chris evaluates the current status of bitcoin-related patent filings at the USPTO. Attention is also given to a proposed strategy for identifying pockets of art units in the patent office where a particular technology of interest might be assigned.
Chris looks at the history of a patent granted for a device intended to detect when Santa Claus is entering a house by way of the chimney. Some time is also given to a discussion about whether patents in the silly category are good or bad when it comes to the corresponding impact on the integrity of the broader patent system.
A rebroadcast of a recent webinar with BPN Host Chris Holt and Eric Zaiser, Patent Counsel at Google. Chris and Eric discuss thinking through the issues involved with balancing your relationship with outside counsel while taking ownership of strategic decisions related to your patent portfolio.
Jonathan (producer of BPN) asks Chris what he has learned from his business travels around the world. Chris reflects on how Asia, Europe, and the United States have each reacted a little bit differently to being challenged to transition to data-driven decision making during pre-grant patent processes.