How to Expedite Your Patent Application

The patent process is a marathon, not a sprint.  For those inventors who chose to take on the patent process without the assistance of a registered attorney, it can be a longer and more arduous ordeal.  There are rules to the “patent game” and you have to know the rules if you are going to play to win. 

The patent process involves four primary steps: 

  • Step 1: File a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”)
  • Step 2: USPTO examination of patent application
  • Step 3: Respond to USPTO rejections or objections 
  • Step 4: USPTO grants patent application

While this may appear to be a straightforward process, each step has its own unique restrictions and challenges, the biggest of which is the time it takes the USPTO to examine the patent application. 

As of June 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has over 552,349 unexamined patent applications in queue and they anticipate that it will take an average of 24.2 months to review a patent application.  Simply stated, it will take an average of two years before an application is formally registered with the USPTO and becomes an enforceable patent. So, what do you do if you can’t afford to wait that long? You speed up the patent process!

The USPTO has a number of initiates aimed at patent examination process.  Here are the top three ways you can expedite the patent process:

1.Track One

Track One is the “USPTO’s Prioritized Patent Examination Process” that gives patent applicants a final disposition within 12 months from the date of filing.  But, there is a catch. Prioritized Examination is available for a fee at the time of filing, which can range from $4,000 for corporations to $1,000 for micro-entity filers.  

It is a streamlined review process that is also more thorough as the USPTO examiner is more likely to acknowledge patentable subject matter rather than issuing a standard rejection of independent claims. At IPS Legal Group, we have had great success for our patent clients through the Prioritized Examination’s Track One program and highly recommend it. 

2.Petition to Make Special

A Petition to Make Special is an application for prioritized examination in limited circumstances including applications filed by those who are over the age of 65, those who have diminished health, and for inventions that materially enhance the quality of the environment, contribute to countering terrorism, or contribute to the development or conservation of energy resources. 

3.Patent Prosecution Highway

Similar to the Prioritized Examination process, the Patent Prosecution Highway (“PPH”) speeds up the examination process for international patent applications.  There are no additional fees that need to be paid, but you must file the PPH petition before the USPTO begins the examination process of your patent application.  

The remaining three expediting programs offered through the USPTO include the First Action Interview Pilot Program (expedites the examination process after it has been assigned to an examiner), the After Final Consideration Pilot Program (AFCP) (expedites the prosecution process after the applicant receives a final rejection), and the Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) (allows the applicant to submit additional disclosures without filing a request for continued examination). 

Regardless of what your patent examination path you chose to take, it is important that you understand the overall patent process and the patent examination rules.  The attorneys at IPS Legal group, P.A. can help you navigate the patent application process. 

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice or instruction.  Every legal question calls for a different legal answer, and the above might not be applicable to your situation.  Contact IPS Legal Group, P.A. today to discuss your unique patent application needs.

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