By: Todd Etshman//July 17, 2012
By: Todd Etshman//July 17, 2012//
The number of Rochester area patent applications made, and patents issued, rose to the highest levels in two years, according to 2012 second quarter figures released yesterday by the intellectual property law firm of Hoffman Warnick LLC in Albany.
Rochester-based Hoffman Warnick attorney Carl Ruoff said the figures are the best since the firm began tracking the number of area patents issued in 2010.
The 470 patent applications made, not including those from Eastman Kodak Co. or Xerox Corp., was the highest in two years. The 594 total patents issued (and the 339 patents issued not including Kodak and Xerox) were also the highest figures in the past two years. The total of 588 total patents applied for in the Rochester area fell just short of the 606 patent applications made in the second quarter of 2011.
According to Spencer Warnick, Hoffman Warnick partner, one reason for the increase in the number of patents issued was the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s progress in clearing up the backlog of applications in the second quarter of 2012. The USPTO opened a satellite office in Detroit on July 13 and has hired over 100 new patent examiners to help deal with the backlog.
“Usually there’s a delay of two to three years if things go well in the application process,” Ruoff explained. “The USPTO wants to reduce the application process down to one to two years and the Detroit office will help [with] the backlog.”
Three other satellite office locations have been selected — Denver, Dallas and San Jose.
Rochester received some support for a USPTO satellite office location, but there wasn’t enough political backing, according to Michael Hoffman, Hoffman Warnick partner. Despite the impressive area figures in Q2, Ruoff said future patent numbers (when including those from Kodak) may not be as substantial moving forward.
“Kodak still has a lot of applications in the pipeline, but those applications are going to drop way off. Their filings are way down now and they’ve laid off a large amount of researchers. They may not even make it out of Chapter 11,” said Ruoff, who was a patent attorney at Kodak until 2008.
Fortunately, other area companies (and the University of Rochester) are applying and receiving approval for their patents.
“This may be indicative of an improving local economy [in Rochester], particularly for small companies,” Hoffman and Ruoff said in announcing the Q2 figures.
The firm selected a Xerox patent, U.S. Patent 8,168,287 regarding “structurally simplified flexible imaging members” in copier machines, as an example of the new technology being developed in the Rochester area. The firm reported a strong second quarter for Albany and Syracuse areas as well. The 168 total patents issued and the 177 patents applied for in Syracuse were the highest totals since the firm began tracking Syracuse patent activity last year.