Preliminary Report on Track I: Prioritized Patent Examination Program

By Dennis Crouch

The USPTO’s new Commissioner for Patents is Peggy Focarino. In a recent post to Dir. Kappos Blog, Commissioner Focariono provided a report on the PTO’s “Track I Prioritized Patent Examination Program.” Under Track I, a patent applicant can complete a simple one page form and pay a $4,800 fee to have their patents processed quickly. The goal is that patents will be “processed to completion” within 12-months of an application entering the Track I program. Track I was authorized by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act that was enacted on September 16, 2011. The program became effective on September 26, 2011.

As of January 3, 1,694 Track I petitions applications had been filed and the Office has granted 99% of the petitions it has decided. First office actions are being sent – on average – about one month after approval of the petition. So far, the longest delay has been 70 days from grant of the petition to mailing of the first office action.

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This morning I identified the first Track I patent issued thus far – U.S. Patent No. 8,094,942 owned by Google and directed to a method and system of character recognition for overlapping textual user input. The application was filed on September 30, 2011 along with a Track I request. The request was granted on November 1, 2011. The applicant then filed an IDS and a proactive terminal disclaimer associated with a parent case. The case was handled by a primary examiner who had handled the parent case and who allowed the claims with examiner-proposed amendments following an interview.

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Commissioner Focariono added the following note to her post: “For those applicants or practitioners concerned about whether Track I applications will be treated differently from others in terms of grant/denial rate, our examiners are being given exactly the same training, credits and incentives to accurately examine Track I cases as for all other cases, and no training, credits or incentives are being given to bias examiner decisions in any way. And as for the data, given the statistics provided above, so far there is no basis to believe there is any difference in result for Track I versus non-Track I processing, other than the significantly faster responsiveness.”

15 thoughts on “Preliminary Report on Track I: Prioritized Patent Examination Program

  1. 15

    There goes real innovations.
    A Poet and Inventor are one in the same
    Creating things that lie in ones brain
    However in the end the poet is set free
    While the Inventor is bound by HYPOCRISY.
    Stanley John Kippen Inventor and Poet.

    More laws, less inventions. I don’t think the views of the independent inventors were considered. Our county is failing from fewer jobs that innovation can bring, Where is the forethought. The new laws only slow growth, and detain the competition. Lucky Edison was born when he was, or we would never see the light, but it’s getting dimmer.

  2. 14

    This whole patent process is going big business with Kapos and crew any significant invention is shut down yet they keep trying to make it whorse. Will some one send them a wake up call. Its all about big business covering up there thefts from inventors and overpowering the system with payoffs to shut it down in concielment attempts.

  3. 12

    Ray for some discussion of patentability, you could read the EPO wrapper of 1891208 and its (now lapsed) div 2218777. The EPO files are full of evidence-based observations on patentability, emanating from an unnamed client of a prominent London patent attorney firm.

    The ‘208 case is on the way to issue. I wonder if it will get opposed. I wonder if it will be asserted, as soon as it issues. Depends how wide its claims are, I suppose.

  4. 11

    Your post is equivalent to saying that there was no such thing as “reject reject reject.”

    Your post is equivalent to saying “I’m the long-time idxot blog troll with the reading comprehension problem and the obsession with sockpuppetry.”

  5. 9

    I’m guessing that they would do it the same way they would for any other app that is published for the first time as an issued patent. How many of those were there in, say, calendar 2010?

  6. 7

    If being older and inventing is such a no no, then why do you have to be a certain age to run for President? Is that what’s wrong? Are you kidding me? That’s all we need to do to make us great? SICK!

  7. 6

    Your post is equivalent to saying that there was no such thing as “reject reject reject.”

    In essence, you place yourself firmly in the alien probed group, and your post will be accorded all due weight (that is, none).

  8. 5

    GQ: I think there are a lot of folks that think in the past some of the acceleration, you know, the old fashioned acceleration because of age or things like, that would be waving a red flag at the examiner and say, in order to meet your requirements here reject, reject, and reject faster.

    There are a lot of folks who think the earth is 6,000 years old, a lot of folks who think Sasquatch wanders the Oregon forests, and a lot of folks who think their bungholes were probed by aliens. Do their “views” really need to be repeated as if they were based in reality?

    I guess the answer is yes, if you are trying to pander to such folks.

  9. 4

    Hmmm … so how will 3rd parties be able to submit and have properly considered their prior art, per AIA, on apps rocketing through the system like this?

    Hmmmm …

  10. 3

    The Kappos interview posted today over on the 2d place patent blog suggests that small entities and micro-entitites will get their discounts for track 1 prosecution requests as soon as the required rulemaking can be concluded – probably about next March.
    [I wondered if the PTO could arrange for refunds when that happens in order to increase more small-entity track 1 requests now?]

  11. 1

    ” are being given exactly the same training, credits and incentives to accurately examine Track I cases as for all other cases, and no training, credits or incentives are being given to bias examiner decisions in any way”

    Although there probably should be additional training/credits/incentives considering the applicants are actually funding their own examination for a change. Although sure leave the “bias” out.

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