“Track One”: 12-month Examination to begin May 4, 2011
Last summer, the USPTO recognized “that the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ examination timing may not work for all applicants,” and that “by allowing applicants greater control over the timing of examination, the USPTO will be able to deploy its resources to better meet the needs of innovators.” In this regard, a “Three-Track” initiative is being put in place for applications filed first in the United States, in which an applicant may request:
Track I: prioritized examination;
Track II: traditional examination under the current procedures; or
Track III: for non-continuing applications first filed in the USPTO, an applicant-controlled delay for up to 30 months prior to docketing for examination.
The USPTO has now announced that “Track One” will begin May 4, 2011. For a $4,000 fee, the USPTO will prioritize the handling of your patent application by placing it on the “examiner’s special docket throughout its entire course of prosecution.” The goal: reaching a final disposition within 12 months. “Final disposition” means that the application is either allowed, abandoned, or is subject to a “final rejection” (which can then be appealed). “Track One” will be limited to 10,000 applications for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (ending September 30).
- Application must be filed on or after May 4, 2011, using the USPTO’s electronic filing system;
- Application must be “complete”;
- The request for prioritized application must be filed with the application itself;
- Application may contain no more than four independent and thirty total claims; and
- The $4,000 fee must be paid in addition to the normal filing fees (no small-entity discount).
Further information regarding Track Three will be sent in due course.