By Dennis Crouch
The chart below is a bit confusing, but I think that it presents some interesting data. The chart generally shows the timing of first actions on the merits (FAOMs). Most commonly a FAOM is either a non-final rejection or else a notice-of-allowance. The number of applications awaiting FAOM is typically referred to as the backlog of unexamined cases. The PTO has been focusing attention on reducing that backlog as well the timing from filing to FAOM. In addition to calculating the timing of FAOM, the PTO also offers a forward-looking prediction to applicants that estimates how long the wait will be. The chart shows both the average actual timing (red) and predicted timing (blue) of FAOMs. I can only report the predicted timing for recently filed applications (since we don't know how long it will actually take). By late 2015, we could see the backlog reduced to 12-months.