Global warming and our need for alternative fuel sources have been hot topics for conversation in society for decades now, and perhaps one of the more recognizable changes these issues have brought about can be seen in the automotive industries. Toyota® has been manufacturing their full hybrid electric Prius since 1997, which has been a success in over 90 markets around the world. Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 and is credited with producing electric vehicles at prices affordable to average consumers. Today, most major automotive companies are placing more emphasis on producing hybrid or electric cars, and we have seen continual innovation as a result.

In such a competitive environment, we have seen an increase in electric vehicle-related patent filings over the years as companies fight to position themselves for their share of the market. We set out to learn more about the team of patent examiners that deals with most of these filings and the patent data surrounding electric vehicle patents.

Art Unit 3618

If you file a patent application related to motor vehicles, land vehicles, or hybrid electric vehicles, the odds are good that someone on the Art Unit 3618 team will examine your application. Art Unit 3618 has been assigned 16,776 patent applications to date and has historically allowed 71.1 percent of those applications to issue as patents.

What should a patent applicant expect while facing Art Unit 3618?

Office Actions

Office actions vary by each Art Unit 3618 patent examiner, but the average patent applicant faces 1.4 office actions before issuance or abandonment of their application. The most office applications ever presented to an applicant was eleven, while other applicants have avoided receiving an office action at all. On average, 31.1 percent of patent applications received at least one final office action during prosecution.


Patent applicants should expect to wait right around a year-and-a-half before receiving their first office action. Typically, patent applicants will know the final disposition of their application in two years, five months, and twenty-eight days.

RCEs and Appeals

At least one RCE if filed by patent applicants before issuance. After filing a first RCE, allowance immediately follows for 38.1 percent of applications. Additional RCEs are required 15.4 percent of the time. Of all the applications assigned to Art Unit 3618, only 470 patent applications went through at least one appeal cycle.

Top Ten Art Unit 3618 Patent Assignees

Assignee Name                         Art Unit Applications
Toyota                                                      589
Honda                                                      530
General Motors                                      265
Ford                                                          259
Hyundai                                                   154
Komatsu Ltd.                                          152
Nissan                                                      141
Yamaha                                                    129
Caterpillar Inc.                                        122
Salomon                                                   119

Which top assignee is having the most success with Art Unit 3618?

With 530 patent applications having been assigned to Art Unit 3618, Honda has been granted a patent on 89 percent of its applications. Honda averages 1.5 office actions with each Art Unit 3618 encounter, the first of which is typically received one year, nine months, and fifteen days into prosecution. Honda usually has final disposition – either granted or abandoned – two years, eight months, and twenty-two days after filing its applications.

The number four filer, Ford, is close behind having success in 88.9 percent of its applications examined by 3618’s patent examiners.  The number one Art Unit 3618 patent filer, Toyota, has been granted 78.8 percent of the patents assigned to this art unit.

Patent data and statistics are provided using the LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® patent analytics platform. PatentAdvisor™ patent prosecution tools provide patent analytics for enhanced patent prosecution and the implementation of superior patent prosecution strategies.

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