Well, one of our oldest design patent applications, one that had been parked in the “ghost art unit” for some seven months, is now out of the ghost art unit. Just today it got transferred to art unit 2911, and after some seven months without a First Office Action Prediction (“FOAP”), it again has an FOAP.
The FOAP is six months, that is, USPTO now estimates that it will examine this case in about June of 2015.
USPTO’s First Office Action Estimator says that for a newly filed application in art unit 2911, the estimated time for a newly filed design patent application to get a first office action is 13 months from now.
What’s weird about this is that our application was filed September 23, 2013. With a backlog of 13 months, this would suggest our application should have been examined in about October of 2013. Over a month ago. Our seven months in the ghost art unit seem to have pushed this application back in the queue so that it will get examined much later than it should have.
Well you take what you can get. At least this application is now back in the normal Examining Corps and after some seven months of being unable to do so, we can once again track its progress through the system.
We have over a dozen other design patent applications that were filed more recently than this one, that are still parked in the ghost art unit. We will continue to keep an eye on them and hopefully they too will eventually be transferred to a real art unit.