Intellectual Property: Patent Office Has Opportunities to Further Improve Application Review and Patent Quality, GAO-16-883T: Published: Sep 16, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 2016.
“U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examiners face a variety of challenges in reviewing patent applications and issuing high quality patents. Some challenges affect examiners’ ability to complete a thorough review of information relevant to a claimed invention—or a “prior art” search—which is the most time consuming aspect of examining a patent application. For example, the amount and availability of prior art as well as the extent to which examiners are able to search prior art quickly using the search tools USPTO provides may present a challenge to examiners in reviewing patent applications. Additionally, the clarity of patent applications and the amount of time USPTO allots examiners to complete their work, among other challenges, may affect examiners’ ability to ensure that patents USPTO issues are high quality.”