For those applicants wishing a prompt examination of their applications, and are willing to pay the price, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has introduced a new program that permits applicants to have their applications examined promptly and provide a final disposition (either a final rejection or an allowance) of the application within a year, on average.
The requirements to be accepted into the program are as follows:
1. A prioritized examination fee of $4,800 ($2,400 for Small Entities), plus additional USPTO fees of $430.
2. The application be a utility application and can be a continuation, division, Continuation-in-part, or an RCE (Request for Continued Examination). National Phase (NP) applications from PCT applications are not eligible, though continuation applications entering (very similar procedure to a NP application) the US examination from the PCT application are eligible.
3. Since the latter part of 2010, USPTO policy is to no longer prioritize RCE applications, and thus most RCE filings have not received an action since such a filing. The Prioritized program addresses this problem for those applicants willing to pay the fees involved. Only one RCE may be eligible for the program per application.
4. The application must be complete when filed, including the executed Declaration and fees.
5. The request for prioritized examination must be made at the time of filing the application, though in the case of an RCE, the request may be made anytime before a first action is issued on an RCE. Pending applications, other than RCE’s, are thus not eligible to be accepted in the program.
6. The number of claims is limited to thirty, of which no more than four can be independent. Multiple dependent claims are not permitted.
7. Responses to Office Actions can still be made up to the three month deadline, A request for extension of time to respond to the Office action terminates the prioritized status for the application which is then placed on the Examiner’s standard docket.
8. The number of applications that may accepted into this program is limited to 10,000 applications per fiscal year.
In the event you wish your new applications to be filed under this program, please inform both your patent attorney and the Ehrlich & Fenster US Paralegal Department prior to the US filing. Should you wish further information regarding this program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.