People need coffee and they need it now. International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) is doing what they can to reduce the number of tired eyes and heavy feet that move about each day. Here is a look at the IBM patent prosecution for coffee drone delivery.

IBM was recently granted U.S. Patent Number 10,040,551, which describes a method of coffee delivery by equipping autonomous drones with a cup of joe, sending them out into the world, and programming them to identify and deliver a boost to those in need. Appropriately titled “Drone Delivery of Coffee Based on a Cognitive State of an Individual,” the ‘551 patent describes drones capable of collecting and interpreting a variety of information from cameras, sensors, and smart devices to anticipate an individual’s desire for caffeine. IBM’s drones can be programmed to scan groups of individuals for gestures, such as a wave to flag down a coffee drone, and to recognize a “predetermined cognitive state” by analyzing sensor data that includes “heart rate, blood pressure, pupil dilation, breathing rate, skin temperature, and a chemical composition of breath.”

IBM is determined to get you the jolt you deserve, and they are taking a unique approach – drone delivery.

IBM Coffee Drone Patent Strategy

IBM initially filed their coffee drone patent back in December 2015 (as Application Number 14/978,620). Their patent application was assigned to Group Art Unit 3655 for examination, and patent prosecution looked promising based on the art unit’s 82.2 percent patent allowance rate. However, challenges were sure to follow after IBM was assigned to an examining attorney with much less favorable patent statistics.

The patent examiner assigned to IBM has historically allowed only 54.5 percent of the patent applications he has examined. Additionally, the average patent application evaluated by this patent examiner lingers in prosecution for over three years and five months while facing an average of 2.6 office actions. LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® has assigned IBM’s examiner an ETA™ of 4.4 based on the patent examiner’s experience, history, and several other factors. This proprietary metric indicates to patent applicants that they should proceed with caution and dig into analytics to determine the best patent prosecution strategies.

Playing in line with PatentAdvisor™ guidance, IBM managed to secure patent ‘551 in only two years and three months after a combination of strategic prosecution decisions. Patent data shows that nearly 40 percent of applications examined by the assigned patent examiner for IBM require at least one RCE prior to issuance or abandonment, and 18.4 percent of those applications are granted immediately after their RCE. Additionally, of the 291 patent applications where applicants held interviews with IBM’s patent examiner, 102 patents were immediately granted following the interview. After receiving a final office action, IBM struck with a one-two combination interview-and-RCE. This ultimately led to patent ‘551’s issuance and showed that IBM deals in intelligent patent prosecution as well as in intelligent drones.

Patent data and statistics have been provided by the LexisNexis PatentAdvisor patent prosecution platform. PatentAdvisor patent prosecution tools enable businesses and patent professionals to leverage USPTO patent data for more efficient and effective patent prosecution.

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