Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How Long Does It Take?

According to the USPTO website, the “traditional” patent pendency takes 27.5 months.  This statistic measures the time from the filing of an applications until the time that either a patent is issued or the application is abandoned.  Unfortunately, this number can be misleading because it excludes applications that file a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). 

The patent application process is a series of interchanges between the applicant and the patent examiner.  Two of the services included in the initial filing fee are the first office action and the final office action.  The first office action is the initial response of the patent examiner regarding the patentability of the invention.  The applicant is then given an opportunity to modify their application in response to the patent examiner’s objections.  The patent examiner then reviews the modified application and issues a final office action either granting the patent or rejecting the application.  However, the use of the word final is misleading here because nothing needs to be final about final office action.  Through an RCE, and the associated filing fee, applicants have the ability to continue the examination if they believe the patent examiner’s objections can be overcome.  

RCE’s, which are very common, add approximately 10 months to pendency.

Since this is a textile blog, I thought it might be helpful to look at the pendency of textile related patents using a random sample of over 200 textile patents issued since August 2013.  The average pendency of these textile patents was 34.8 months and approximately 40% of these applications required an RCE.  About a quarter of textile related patents were issued in less than 18 months and about three quarters of textile related patents were issued within 46 months.  The quickest patent took 90 days and the longest patent took over 10 years.  About 5% of the patents took over 6.5 years.
Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:
Anti-slip spike structure:  An improved anti-slip spike structure which is used in soles of snow shoes or special anti-slip shoes. The anti-slip spike is mainly arranged on a sole surface. The metal spike body is wrapped with a hard rubber body placed in a solid cylindrical rod-shaped rubber spike. Since the rubber spike is entirely wrapped and has a large placement plane, it is easy to position the rubber spike in a mold. In addition, when the rubber spike is pressed to be shaped, the spike does not skew or shift.  Patent:  8695234.  Inventor:  Wu.  Not Assigned.

Soccer shoe component or insert made of one material and/or a composite and/or laminate of one or more materials for enhancing the performance of the soccer shoe:  A soccer shoe absorbs and stores energy from the foot at foot-strike and return some of this energy to the object being struck. The shoe may also cushion the foot, leg and body; provide foot stability and motion control; reduce fatigue; extend the float time of a runner and increase the jump height of the wearer. The shoe is intended to absorb, store and return energy to the object struck, which would otherwise be lost using the existing shoe components and inserts. The shoe has a vertical component that extends around the periphery of the front of the shoe and another component (horizontal) that extends longitudinally from the front of the shoe towards the back of the shoe, at least to about the middle of the shoe, and preferably proximate the heel of the shoe.  Patent:  8695235.  Inventor:  Perron.  Not Assigned.

Method for forming a high strength synthetic rope:  A method is provided for forming a high strength synthetic rope useful for towing warps, trawler warps, yachting ropes, mooring lines, anchor lines, oil derrick anchoring lines, seismic lines, seismic lines and any other uses for rope, cable or chain.  Patent:  8695317.  Inventors Erlendsson and Safwat.  Assignee:  Hampidjan Hf. 

Method and system for manufacturing cable bead:   A method and system for manufacturing high-quality cable beads with efficiency. The method includes the steps of arranging a plurality of carriages carrying a core and a reel wound with a wire around a reel revolving means having at least two arms, attaching the core to a core rotating means for rotating the core in a circumferential direction by holding it with one of the arms and positioning the reel on one side of the core by holding it with the other of the arms, manufacturing a cable bead by revolving the reel by holding it alternately with each of the two arms, and returning the cable bead and the reel to the carriage using the two arms. Thus, the setting of the reel and the core, the manufacturing of a cable bead, and the returning of the cable bead and the reel back to the carriage are performed automatically.  Patent:  8695318.  Inventor:  Owaga.  Assignee:  Kabushiki Kaisha Bridgestone. 

Quilting machine and improved driving system for such quilting machine:  An improved quilting machine, with a housing made by a C-shaped frame that has upper and lower arms, wherein the needle structure at the front end of the upper arm have conventional design (as used in commercial sewing machines) and the bobbin is placed to an elevated height by providing an upwardly extended end portion of the lower arm and an offset shaft transmission.   By such a simple design the reciprocating mass of the needle structure and the mass of the torque transmission means are reduced, conventional needle moving structures can be used and owing to the lighter load, the dimensions of the drive train can be less massive and heavy.  Patent:  8695517.  Inventor:  Kasa.  Not Assigned.

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing management, prototyping, and regulatory services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at or by phone at (803) 792-2183.

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