Maneuvering through the patent process can come with plenty of expenses. Money, time and progress are all on the line when you’re waiting to move ahead. There are systems in place meant to move you along, but incentives for others may be working against you.

Administrative Patent Judges could receive up to $36,000 in bonuses every year. The amount depends, in part, on their caseload. Getting your patent through the system quickly and efficiently is essential, and an extended review process can significantly add to costs. When additional reviews can work toward a bigger paycheck for judges, it’s important that you have a strong case for your patent.

Slowing pace

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board oversees applications and appeals based on arguments for things like validity and infringement. The board’s purpose is to handle cases faster than the matter would make it through district court, but there could be financial incentives for judges to take more reviews.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) documents show that quality and quantity both contribute to increased paychecks. But understanding how much isn’t so simple, as these factors earn judges “decisional units” based on a case’s complexity. Those units then help determine the size of the bonus.

Growing caseloads

The PTAB currently rules on over 12,000 reviews annually, and last year judges looked at 63% of the cases before them. These cases are what could count toward Administrative Patent Judges getting some of the largest bonuses in agencies across the federal government.

The next highest ceiling for bonuses goes to Administrative Appeals Judges in the U.S. Department of Labor at just over $14,000, two-and-a-half times less than what a parent judge could earn.

A successful application is often a vital part of doing business, and fast petition times can make a big difference in success. Make sure your patent is ready for the process, and you could avoid countless hurdles on the way to approval.