–Concurrent Litigation a Driving Force– The USPTO has released their year end statistics for ex parte and inter partes patent reexamination. The ex parte statistics may be found here, the inter partes here. Ex parte numbers are down slightly, it is not clear whether this modest decrease is a function of the overall 2009 economy, or a shift toward inter partes proceedings. Perhaps tellingly, the inter partes numbers continue to increase at a strong pace year over year. The statistics indicate that a whopping 68% of inter partes reexaminations are known to be in litigation (32% for ex parte). With the continued influx of inter partes reexaminations to the Office, one has to wonder how the USPTO will keep up with the demand. Indeed, the Office is increasingly criticized with respect to the growing delays associated with inter partes reexamination. Tomorrow we will explore how the behavior of inter partes requestors virtually ensures PTO inefficiency, and how such behavior may be discouraged to streamline the proceeding….stay tuned.