USPTO Releases Petition Timelines

The Office of Petitions has launched a new USPTO Patents Petitions Timeline that provides information on petition types that can be filed throughout each stage of the patent prosecution, and reexamination process. For each petition type, users can easily access information on average pendency over the past 12 months of decided petitions, the deciding office, petition grant rates, and link to specific sections of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) or other parts of the USPTO website that relate to each petition type. (here)

Given the pro forma nature of many prosecution related petitions, of most interest are the more unusual filings, such as petitions to revive abandoned applications.

Of perhaps the greatest interest is the pendency information pertaining to petitions filed during patent reexamination. I have often referred to this practice as the “black arts” as such practice is fraught with uncertainty, and pendency can be quite significant.
The statistics for both ex parte patent reexamination and inter partes patent reexamination are provided below.  While the pendencies are significant for Rule 181-183 filings, keep in mind that since inter partes reexamination requests are no longer accepted. Inter Partes petition workflow (which has always been very significant) should be slowing down. Going forward, I would expect reexamination petitions under Rules 181-183 to improve in timeliness. 

Reexamination Related Petitions

CRU – Central Re-Examination Unit
OPLA – Office of Patent Legal Administration

Petition Type

Avg. Days Pending of Decided Petitions

Grant Rate Percentage

Deciding Office

Extension of time in Ex Parte reexamination under 37 CFR 1.550

        1 88% CRU
Extension of time in Inter Partes reexamination under 37 CFR 1.956

        2 100% CRU
To expunge under 1.59

       77 27% CRU
To review denial in Ex Parte reexamination under 1.515

       66 4% CRU
To the Director under 1.181

      150 38% CRU
Under 1.182

      151 16% CRU
For suspension of the rules under 1.183       78 66% CRU