USPTO Issues Final Rule for Prioritized Patent Examination

April 5th, 2011
Patents/IP, Resources & Tools



For a Special Fee, Get a Patent in 12 Months!


New Procedure is called “Track One” of a Proposed Three-Track Improvement Initiative


On April 4, 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a final rule to implement “Track One” prioritized examination of a patent application upon an applicant’s request and payment of a $4,000 request fee and other filing fees.  Using this procedure, patent applicants should be able to obtain a “final disposition” of their patent application within twelve (12) months of receipt of priority status.   Other aspects of the USPTO improvements initiative are expected for later roll-out as Track Two and Track Three.

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There are certain limitations on the procedure.  Under the new rule (37 C.F.R. 1.102(e)), prioritization is available only for an original and complete utility or plant nonprovisional application that contains or is amended to contain no more than four independent claims and no more than 30 total claims.  Further, the USPTO press release states that it is limiting requests to a maximum of 10,000 applications during the remainder of fiscal year 2011. The notice also states that the USPTO lacks statutory authority to extend the small entity fee to examination prioritization.

The effective date of the new rule is May 4, 2011, and requests for prioritization may be submitted on or after that date.  Because of the limited number of requests, patent applicants desiring to use the new process should move quickly to apply for prioritization status.

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by:  John R. Harris