Is The Patent Fast Track Working?

The Track I Prioritized Patent Examination Program appears to be doing its job, according to a recent blog post by Peggy Focarino, the USPTO Commissioner for Patents. The expedited track allow inventors and businesses—for a fee of $4,800—to have their patents processed within 12 months.

The USPTO update reveals some interesting information about how the program is working so far. Here are a few highlights:

  • To date, 1,694 Track I petitions have been submitted to the USPTO.
  • On average, it takes 40.8 days to move Track I cases from receipt of petition to completion of pre-examination processing (which includes deciding on the petition). The longest it has taken is 95 days.
  • Overall, 1,218 of the 1,231 requests of the prioritized examination (that have been decided) were granted. This represents a 98.9% approval rate.
  • On average, the USPTO is getting the first action out in Track I cases just 30.7 days after approval of the petition – for a total elapsed period to first action of 66.4 days after filing of the request-petition.
  • The USPTO notes 23 allowances have already been mailed on Track I applications, the fastest of which was mailed just 37 days after the application was filed.

Finally, the USPTO also addresses concerns that Track I applications will be treated differently from other applications in terms of their likelihood of success. Focarino’s blog post states, “Our examiners are being given exactly the same training, credits and incentives to accurately examine Track I cases as for all other cases, and no training, credits or incentives are being given to bias examiner decisions in any way.”

Therefore, according to the USPTO, the only changes Track I patent applicants should expect is faster results.

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