On June 24, 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it will expand its Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan to all applicants. Under the plan, applicants with more than one copending patent application may have one of the applications accorded “special status” if the applicant agrees to abandon another pending application. “Special status” means that the applicant is advanced for faster examination — typically receiving action within one year.
The previous version of the backlog stimulus plan was limited to small entity applicants, and it was scheduled to end June 30, 2010. The new version of the plan is not limited to small entities. Instead, it will be limited to the first 10,000 applicants of any size, and it will last through at least December 31, 2010.