An appeal is one of the more costly and time-consuming actions an applicant can take on a patent application. As such, an attorney will want to recommend an appeal only if the client is particularly determined to receive an allowance. However, appeal win rates vary widely among tech centers, art units, and examiners, meaning that it makes sense to undertake an appeal only if there is a good chance it will be successful.
In a series of studies on appeals data, we're going to reveal where these chances are highest and lowest.
Juristat considers appeals in terms of wins and losses for applicants. For example, if an examiner is affirmed, that is considered a loss for an applicant, while an examiner being reversed is considered a win. We also consider an examiner being affirmed in part and reversed in part as a win for applicants, since they got at least part of what they wanted out of their appeal.
The graphs below show the percentage of appeals in each tech center based on examiner affirmed/reversed rate. The data was collected from utility art units with at least 100 appealed applications between the years 2004-2016. Hover over the graphs for detail.
Based on our study, it appears that an appeal in TC 1600 or 1700 may not be the best idea, given the high percentage of appeals where examiners are affirmed. An appeal may be a better option in TC 3600 or 3700, given the high reversal rate in those tech centers. Of course, there is still wide variation in appeals success within individual tech centers. Juristat's Examiner Reports can give you much more specific appeals information for your specific examiner and art unit.
Check back for further studies of USPTO appeals data, including at the art unit and examiner levels.