Patent (Still) Pending
Companies seeking patent protection for their innovative, new products might just want to get comfortable. The backlog of patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has swelled to more than 600,000 with an estimated wait time of more than five years, according to a Washington Post article, which fingers a sloppy at best (fraudulent at worst) teleworking program as a possible cause.
About half of the patent office’s approximately 8,300 examiners work from home, and whether or not they’re actually working is the focus of an internal investigation prompted by multiple whistle-blowers two years ago. The patent office, says the article, “while relatively obscure, plays a crucial role in supporting the nation’s commerce and economic development.” Despite what appears to be relatively damning evidence, the probe has so far been deemed “inconclusive.”