Today the USPTO announced a pilot program that will grant requests for prioritized examination to applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status without payment of the typical fees due for this accelerated examination track.
This is a great opportunity for independent inventors and small businesses to accelerate the examination process of their patent applications without the high fees typically associated with the prioritized examination (Track One) process. Those fees can typically be in the range of $1,000 to $2,000 for small and micro entities.
The pilot program will accept a total of 500 requests under this initial phase. After that point, the USPTO may decide to extend the pilot program, may modify the program, or may terminate it.
To qualify for the pilot program, the following conditions must be met:
The objective of the pilot program is to complete, on average, the examination of an application within 12 months of special status being granted. The press release can be found here.
The Federal Register Notice recommends practitioners use Form PTO/SB/450 to make the request for prioritized examination under the pilot program. Once that form is available, I will update the link in this article.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or are interested in learning more about this new pilot program.
Karrie Weaver practices intellectual property, trademark, patent, and trade secret law.