Kate S. Gaudry, Ph.D and Thomas D. Franklin, of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, wrote a few days ago an article on Patently-O regarding continuing application practice. I have written previously about continuing applications (here, here, here, and here), which include continuations, continuation-in-parts, and divisionals, but the authors did an excellent empirical study of such applications. The authors found that the large majority of continuing applications filed were continuations, that more continuations are being filed each year, and that each year a larger percentage of the continuing applications filed are continuations.
Somewhat surprisingly, the study found that continuations are not prosecuted with much more success than original applications, nor are they likely to receive far fewer rejections. The statistics only slightly more favorable treatment of a continuation application than an original app. This runs somewhat counter to my experience, in which I’ve found continuations generally to be much more likely to receive an allowance and receive it faster.