Accelerating the Acquisition of an Enforceable Patent: Bypassing the USPTO’s Backlog

Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto's Patent Prosecution Update
April 2011

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dockets new patent applications for examination in the order of their domestic filing date, and typically will not advance a filed application out of turn. And because the USPTO cannot examine applications as quickly as it receives them, there is backlog of filed but unexamined applications. Fortunately, though, there are strategies for advancing an application out-of-turn. This paper examines a number of those strategies, including the USPTO’s Accelerated Examination program, the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan and the Patent Prosecution Highway program. And finally, waiting in the wings is the USPTO’s “Three Track” program, which will allow any applicant with enough money to simply pay for immediate examination.

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