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Changes to Implement Prioritized Examination Track (Track I) of Enhanced Examination Timing Control Procedures

  • 09.23.11
  • Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox

The USPTO has published a notice entitled “Changes to Implement Prioritized Examination Track (Track I) of Enhanced Examination Timing Control Procedures” in the September 23, 2011 Federal Register. The full notice can be found at the Government Printing Office website. Track I examination requests can be filed beginning September 26th. 

Track I is a way to expedite examination. It applies only to new utility or plant applications that are filed on or after September 26, 2011. The applicant must pay a large fee upfront ($6,480 for the application fee and Track I request, and not including any excess claim fees). This fee is reduced by 50% for small entities. The application is limited to no more than 4 independent claims and 30 total claims. Multiple dependent claims are not allowed. The inventors’ declaration must be filed with the application.

The time periods set for reply in Office actions for applications in Track I will be the same as set forth in section 710.02(b) of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) (8th ed. 2001) (Rev. 8, July 2010). If a request for an extension of time is filed, it will be accepted but the application will be placed into the regular examination queue and taken out of the Track I accelerated examination program.   

The USPTO goal for handling a Track I application is to, on average, have a “final disposition” within 12 months of the prioritized status being granted. A final disposition occurs, for example, when the application is allowed, or a final Office action is mailed, a Notice of Appeal is filed, an RCE is filed, or the application is abandoned. After one of those events, the application is placed in the regular examination queue.

The USPTO is limiting the number of applications in this program to 10,000 the first year. If would like to file an application in this program, or if you have any questions about this program, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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