USPTO prioritized examination enables an applicant to get a final decision on patentability of an application within 12 months.
Prioritized examination can be made for original applications (Track One) and for a request for continued examination (RCE).
The USPTO fees for prioritized examination are $1,000 for a micro entity, $2,000 for a small entity, and $4,000 for a large entity. Legal fees are typically small, because the request form is easy to complete and more importantly requires no pre-filing search.
Although prioritized examination limits requests to applications with no more than four independent claims and 30 total claims, most US patent applications fit within the limits.
In a backlogged field such as software where delays in initial examination can stretch over years, prioritized examination can result in competitive advantage.
Caveats: if the invention lacks patentability, prioritized examination will rapidly inform of the unhappy news, which may not be consistent with a wish to merely report "I have a patent pending." It also will front-load the prosecution fees.
See USPTO Prioritized Patent Examination Program for the request form, a quick guide, the final rules for prioritized examination, and some FAQs.
Also see the USPTO Notice Changes to Permit Delayed Submission of Certain Requirements for Prioritized Examination.
Copyright © 2014 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.