In its 2006 Annual Report (Report), the USPTO congratulated itself for exceeding its hiring target by over 200 new examiners for a total of 1,218 new examiners. That is, more than one third of the total examining corps are new examiners, which would lead to a three year average examination career. The Report predicts that the USPTO will hire 1,200 more new examiners in 2007…. Of course, for the first eight months of a new examiner’s career they are training in classroom groups prior to being new examiners actually examining cases for two years prior to moving on.
So, the United States has one of its most important resources being evaluated by recent college graduates with three years of experience. I believe that the examining corp is trying its best to do its job, but the numbers are overwhelming. How do we fix this problem? 1. reduce the number of patent applications and 2. increase the pay for the examination corp to improve retention of talent. Raising the patent fees to $50,000 would cut the number of patent applications filed by 2/3 and increase the revenue to the patent office from $1.6 billion currently to $5 billion ($50,000 * 100,000 (est) applications per year).