The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Interesting Data on the Value of Patent Examiner Interviews

Dennis has a post up at PatentlyO this week that attempts to assess the benefit to patent applicants of “interviews” — when your patent attorney discusses a filing directly with the USPTO examiner to address the examiner’s rejections.  The study looks at over 17,000 applications between 2000 and 2005, 18% of which involved interviews. 

Dennis finds that “early” interviews (those taking place before any final office action) are not correlated with increased success (grant rate).  However, “late” interviews (those taking place after a final office action) do correlate with success:

“Applications in the late interview group had a much higher grant rate than did applications where a final action was mailed but the case was not subsequently interviewed.  Here, 74% of those in the late interview group were allowed as compared with only 60% other applications where a final action was mailed. (+/– 3% at 95% CI).”

However, I wonder if the control group can be further subdivided to exclude cases where the applicant gave up — e.g., took no further steps after the final office action.  Commenters on PatentlyO also ask about a distinction between examiner-initiated and applicant-initiated interviews, based on experience that examiner-initiated interviews have a very high success rate.

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