Why are patent allowance rates declining?

This week’s news includes interesting comments from fellow intellectual property bloggers Joff Wild of IAM Magazine and Gene Quinn of IP Watchdog.

IAM Magazine reports that European Patent Office allowance rates dropped to 49.5% in 2008.  As IAM blogger Joff Wild notes, this means that patent allowance rates are below 50% in Europe, the US (44%), and Japan (48.9%).  An EPO announcement about the allowance rate is available by linking here.

The 44% US allowance rate in 2008 was down from just over 50% in 2007.  IP Watchdog provides an insider’s view of why US allowance rates may be going down, with comments from an anonymous USPTO examiner stating that examiners’ training and pay encourages rejection and provides little incentive for allowing a case.

Will new leadership at the USPTO lead to any policy changes that may reverse the trend in declining allowance rates?   Stay tuned.

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