Accelerated Examination

By Dennis Crouch

The PTO backlog and resulting delays in prosecution is rightfully a common topic of discussion for patent applicants. However, there are also a growing number of patents being issued on a much shorter timeline through the USPTO’s prioritized examination program known as “Track 1.” Under the program, applicants pay a $4,800 fee to be advanced in the prosecution queue.

Of the 5,200 utility patents issued this week, 34 of them took the Track 1 route to patentability. On average, those patents were pending for 11 months (filing date to issue date). This compares with a 39-month average for the rest of the pack of issued patents. In this small sample, Google is the most filer with 9 of the 34 patents. Only one of the patents is owned by a foreign entity (Beijing Tang-An). About half of the patents claim priority to a prior non-provisional application.

Since the program began a little over one year ago, there have been about 6,000 Track 1 petitions. The vast majority of those have been granted or are currently under consideration with less than 5% of petitions denied.

4 thoughts on “Accelerated Examination

  1. Thanks Dennis.

    Would be interesting to see what percentage of Track 1s are litigated; and how that compares with “regular timing” patents.

    I’d presume a higher %; that more of the “speedsters” (even more so with the 1/2 that are continuations?) want to get to go after the infringers.

  2. Remember when the USPTO had a project to get all applications to a first office action within a year? Whatever happened to that?

  3. The cheaper way may be to just file 1 claim. It might just work its way “somehow” onto the examiner’s docket quicker. Nothing stopping an examiner from pulling ahead—they just need a reason to. Perhaps I am wrong though–got any graphs comparing number of claims vs. date to FAOM?

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