The Future of Patent Examination at the USPTO. Prithwiraj Choudhury, Tarun Khanna, April 2017, Case, “The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal government agency responsible for evaluating and granting patents and trademarks. In 2015, the USPTO employed approximately 8,000 patent examiners who granted nearly 300,000 patents to inventors. As of April 2016, it took roughly 26 months for a patent application to move through the evaluation process, which exceeded the office’s processing goal of 20 months. In August 2016, Andrew Hirshfeld, the commissioner for patents at the USPTO, considered the current state of patent examination and future possibilities. In recent years, a number of new and exciting tools enabled by advances in telework, machine learning, and other approaches had emerged. Hirshfeld hoped to maximize these tools’ utility in order to enhance patent examiners’ work and productivity.Link