Does it feel icky to have one examiner handling 88 applications from 10 different companies within headquarters located within a 50 mile radius of one another?
Minnesota law firms and patent departments are currently prosecuting 24,016 pending but not yet granted or abandoned U.S. patent applications. Following is a listing of the patent examiners that are assigned most frequently in that set of applications. The top ranked examiner, Elizabeth Houston, is handling 166 of the Minnesota applications, and so on and so forth.
Let’s take a closer look Examiner Houston’s docket. Consider the following breakdown of 83 of the 166 pending applications on her docket:
What do all of these ten companies with pending applications assigned to Examiner Houston have in common? Every one of these ten companies has a headquarters in Minnesota.
So, what do you think? Should any consideration be given to a risk of bias in these circumstances?