Expediting Patent Examination
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) has had a variety of procedures to enable applicants to speed up the examination of their applications. However, they’ve generally been limited in some fashion or had burdensome requirements. That has changed with the introduction of “Track One Prioritized Examination.” With this program, applicants can get a final disposition of their applications in about 12 months. In order to use this program, applicants must do the following:
1. Submit a request for prioritized examination at the time of filing the application;
2. Pay a processing fee of $2,000 (small entity) or $4,000 (large entity);
3. Pay all applicable fees at the time of filing (i.e., basic filing fee, search fee, examination fee, excess claims fees, excess sheets fees);
4. Include no more than four (4) independent claims and thirty total claims in the application;
5. File a signed inventor declaration with the application.
The PTO grants no more than 10,000 requests for prioritized examination in a year. The program was introduced in 2011, and in 2011 and 2012 the number of requests did not reach that limit. More information on the program can be found here.