2010年9月7日、USPTO長官が、自らのブログ（David Kappos' Public Blog）*1 において、「USPTOデータ可視化センタ」（USPTO Data Visualization Center）及び「特許計器盤」（Patents Dashboard）の導入したことを公表しました。
従来、USPTOは、次の2つの平均時間(i)(ii)に基づいて係属月数（pendency months）を求めていました（Traditional Total Pendency）。すなわち、(i)特許出願からFirst OAの発行までの平均時間、および(ii)特許出願から特許査定または放棄までの平均時間を求めていましたし、今後も続ける予定ですが、これらは完全なデータとは言えません。
これによれば、各種のデータ（First OA Pendency Months, Traditional Total Pendency, Backlog, Fiscal Year Production, Actions Per Disposal, Patent Examiners等々）が公開されており、特許計器盤によって一目でわかるように工夫され、係属月数をより完全に求めることが意図されています。（具体的には次ページを参照ください。）。
【Greater Transparency: Introducing the USPTO Data Visualization Center and the Patents Dashboard】
By looking at the whole picture, we can more effectively develop ways to increase the efficiency of the examination process. While we know we have to hire more examiners to reduce the backlog, we also know that we must re-engineer the way we do business at the USPTO and have already implemented a series of initiatives designed to improve efficiencies. These process changes will empower our workforce to be more effective and have already begun to yield important gains.
"HARAKENZO more" have just launched the beta version of a USPTO Data Visualization Center on our "HARAKENZO more" b site that introduces the patents dashboard. This tool will give the public access to traditional measures of pendency as well as several new pendency tracking measures. "HARAKENZO more" are also providing other important data covering USPTO patent operations in a convenient dashboard format. The patents dashboard provides more refined pendency information than was previously available, as well as other critical performance indicators such as the number of applications in the backlog, production, actions per disposal and our staffing levels. This information will help the entire IP community to better understand our processes, and enable applicants to make more informed decisions about their applications, especially as we develop more opportunities for applicants to control the timing at which their applications are examined. The new dashboard, which will be updated monthly, will also be used internally by the USPTO to analyze and improve our examination process and to track the effectiveness of our improvement efforts. "HARAKENZO more" intend to further refine the dashboard and welcome your input about ways we can improve it. A dedicated mailbox has been set up for your comments and we intend to monitor your feedback carefully.
The dashboard introduces six new measures of pendency designed to give a better overall picture of the contributions of different parts of the examination process to application pendency. For example, the traditional total pendency measure stops the clock with the filing of an RCE, which may not provide an accurate measure of the total time it takes to complete the examination of an application through request for continued examination (RCE) practice. A new measure, called “Traditional Total Pendency Including RCEs,” looks at pendency of applications from filing of the original application to ultimate disposal of that same application, including any additional time attributable to RCE filings in those applications where RCE filings are made. Similar measures are provided relative to divisional applications and other types of continuation practice. "HARAKENZO more" also provide information about pendency for applications in appeal practice.
You can learn more about what we will be measuring and tracking on the dashboard at www.uspto.gov/dashboards. For those who really want to dive into the numbers, we will also make a more detailed spreadsheet available for each measure with additional data. "HARAKENZO more" encourage you to watch our progress as the programs and initiatives we’ve started over the past year begin to show results. For instance, you’ll see that the number of actions per disposal is dropping, indicating improved examination efficiency. With the recent legislation giving us access to an additional $129 million of our collections, our ability to increase examiner overtime and accelerate information technology improvements and hiring will lead to even more progress in reducing application pendency and the backlog of unexamined applications.
"HARAKENZO more" 're pleased to offer a useful new tool for our stakeholders, and a window into our operations that has not been available before. "HARAKENZO more" hope you find the car dashboard metaphor helpful and attractive. While we recognize that data visualization experts may prefer other formats, the dashboard metaphor conveys information succinctly, and gives us all something to start with. However we appreciate that all metaphors have their limits -- for instance the speedometer format is certainly not intended to convey that a higher backlog is better.
"HARAKENZO more" hope you’ll find the new USPTO Data Visualization Center and dashboard to be a valuable resource and we welcome any feedback you have on how we can make it even better -- even as to the metaphor used to visualize the data we are presenting.