USPTO Issues Final Notice for Track I Fee-Based Prioritized Examination

On September 23, 2011, the USPTO issued a final notice, “Changes to Implement the Prioritized Examination Track (Track 1) of the Enhanced Examination Timing Control Procedures under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act“.  According to the notice, starting today,September 26th, applicants can seek fee-based prioritized examination under the USPTO’s Track I program.  Courtenay Brinckerhoff, writer of PharmaPatents Blog and Partner at Foley & Lardner, posted an article setting forth details of the program including: applications eligible For Track I Examination, the filing requirements for Track I Examination, the on-going requirements for Track I Examination, the USPTO’s Track I goals and her lingering concerns. Here is an excerpt from her article:

As of September 26, 2011, applicants can seek fee-based prioritized examination under the USPTO’s Track I program. The September 23, 2011 Federal Register Notice sets forth the details of the program, which is largely identical to that previously set to take effect May 4, 2011, although the basic fee is higher. The USPTO decided not to implement the program in May because funding limitations required it to revise its hiring plans, and it did not believe that it could meet the Track I pendency goals with its current resources. While the USPTO’s funding situation has not improved, Track I is being offered now, in accordance with provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

Here is a link to the full article.


USPTO Budget Reductions Halt Fee-Based Prioritized Examination (Track I) And Other Programs

Jeanne Gills, Partner at Foley & Lardner and Practice Center Contributor sent in this alert discussing the impact the enactmet of the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 will have on the USPTO’s spending authority for fiscal year 2011.

On April 22, 2011, USPTO Director David J. Kappos announced the impact of the budget reductions embodied in the fiscal year 2011 budget that finally was enacted on April 15, 2011. (Fiscal year 2011 runs through September 30, 2011.) The budget gives the USPTO the authority to spend only $2.09 billion, which is about $100 million less than its projected fee collections.

As a result of this significant fee diversion, the USPTO has decided not to implement fee-based prioritized examination (Track I), which was going to be available as of May 4, 2011.

Applicants interested in prioritized examination should consider whether their applications qualify for other programs, such as the Accelerated Examination,Patent Prosecution Highway, or Green Technology programs. An overview of these programs can be found on Foley’s PharmaPatentsBlog. (more…)

USPTO To Launch Prioritized Patent Examination Program May 4, 2011

The USPTO recently announced that the agency will launch it’s new prioritized examination system known as “Track One” on May 4, 2011.  Under the program, patent applicants can elect to accelerate examination of their patent applications (if the application meets certain requirements) filed on or after May 4, 2011.  The USPTO will then “prioritize” the handling of your patent application with a goal of reaching a final disposition within twelve months.  If “accorded special status”, the patent application will be placed on the examiner’s special docket throughout its entire course of prosecution before the examiner until a final disposition is reached.  Final Disposition for a twelve month goal means: (1) mailing of a notice of allowance; (2) mailing of a final Office action, (3) filing of a notice of appeal, (4) declaration of an interference by the BPAI, (5) filing of a request for continued examination, or (6) abandonment of the application within 12 months from the date prioritized status has been granted.

To qualify for Track One prioritized status, an applicant must meet certain requirements: (more…)