One of the primary concerns that companies have regarding patent filings is the time it takes to get a patent. Recent changes to the patent laws have created a fast track option to “whisk” your patent through the process. To use this option you must file a petition and pay a fee.
According to the PTO:
Following passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act in
September 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
began accepting requests for prioritized examination of patent
applications through the Track I Prioritized Patent Examination Program.
Simply put, Track I allows inventors and businesses, for a fee, to have their patents processed to completion in 12 months.
According to a recent update from the PTO many applicants have used the fast track process and the results are summarized as follows:
- 1,218 of the 1,231 requests for prioritized examination that have
been decided were granted, which represents a 98.9% approval rate.
- 648 have already received a first office action, and
another 34 will be mailed within days.
- On average, the PTO is getting a
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, with the longest time to first action being 70 days from grant of the
- 23 allowances have already been mailed on Track I applications, the fastest of which was mailed just 37 days after the
application was filed and 7 more allowances are currently in the pipeline.
- Of the Track I cases
allowed so far, the average time to allowance is 39.2 days from petition approval.
- As for rejections, so far there have been three final
rejections issued on Track I applications. The average time to final
rejection has been 34.3 days, and the longest time to final was 50 days,
both measured from approval of the Track I petition.
- The first Track I application is due to issue on Jan. 10, 2012.
This application was filed Sept. 30, 2011.
Given the fast paced developments in areas such as social games, augmented reality, mobile applications and other hot sectors, it may be worth considering use of this procedure to get your patents issued more quickly.