COVID-19 Prioritized (Accelerated) Examination Pilot Program
Continuing its efforts to accelerate the commercialization and available of technologies addressing COVID-19, the United States Patent Office (USPTO) has announced a new COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program.
The average pendency of a US patent application is three (3) years from filing to grant. Oftentimes, it can take eighteen (18) months or more to receive a first action on a patent application from the USPTO. Prioritized Examination allows patent applicants to essentially advance their patent application out of turn to quickly obtain a final disposition – allowance or final rejection – within twelve (12) months of patent application filing. Under normal circumstances, prioritized examination can be requested by patent applicants with the payment of a sizable fee. Under the new COVID-19 pilot program, the USPTO will grant qualified requests for prioritized examination without payment of certain fees associated with this request. To qualify, the applicant must be a small entity or micro entity, the claims of the application must cover a product or process related to COVID-19, and such product or process must be subject to an applicable FDA approval for COVID-19 use.
The pilot program will accept requests for prioritized examination until such time as the USPTO has accepted a total of 500 requests, but the USPTO may further extend it or terminate it depending on workload and resources needed, feedback, effectiveness, etc.
A copy of the Notice with details regarding the pilot program can be found here.
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