Friday, October 05, 2007

Davis discussing GAO report on USPTO examiner hiring practice

Jack Davis in an article entitled Dilbert is alive and well and managing the Patent office reviews a GAO report on hiring/employee retention practices at the USPTO [the GAO report is Hiring Efforts Are Not Sufficient to Reduce the Patent Application Backlog] Although the USPTO is trying to tell people that the rules changes on continuing applications will address the patent application backlog problem, the GAO report identifies the origin of the backlog problem:

“In each of the last 5 years,” [the patent office] “identified its projected
annual hiring estimates on the basis of available funding levels and its institutional capacity to support additional staff and not on the existing backlog or the expected patent application workload.”

Davis wrote: The GAO found that from 2002 through 2006, one patent examiner left for nearly every two the agency hired. “This represents a significant loss to the agency because 70 percent of those who left had been at the agency for less than 5 years and new patent examiners are primarily responsible for the actions that remove applications from the backlog.”

Davis got into the unpaid overtime business: In fact, 70 percent of patent examiners reported working unpaid overtime during the past year, in order to meet their production goals. (As someone who is part of a down-sized workforce now expected to produce an up-sized product, in print and online and without the lure of any equity stake to supplement my natural motivation toward, um, excellence, I share their pain.)

See previous IPBiz posts on the topic:

Time and money issues at the USPTO

Examiner hiring and retention at the USPTO


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