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New Rule for Fast Tracking Patent Applications
- 4/8/2011

The Patent Office has issued a new rule to allow for prioritized examination of a patent application upon an applicant’s request.  The new rule aims to provide final disposition of a patent application within twelve months of the application gaining prioritized status.  In addition to various procedural rules, the request comes with a hefty price tag:  $4,000.00 request fee.  This investment may be worthwhile for patent applicants who are in need of quick examination of their applications.

The new rule imposes limitations on the types of applications that may get prioritized for fast tracking.  For example, the application may not contain more than thirty claims, total, of which no more than four can be independent claims.  Also, the application must contain no multiple dependent claims. 

Another limitation is the number of patent applications that are entitled for the fast track program.  The Patent Office has restricted the number of requests to no more than 10,000 patent applications during the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (which ends October 1, 2011).  Also, there is currently no small entity status available to reduce the fees. 

Despite these and other limitations, applicants who are particularly anxious to get patent applications examined quickly may decide that the prioritized examination track set forth in the new rule is a worthwhile option. 

Click Here to read the full Federal Register Notice describing the new rule. 

Check back for updates and details regarding the new rule.