Last week, the USPTO published a proposed rule that will allow applicants to speed up the patent examination process in exchange for a substantial fee. Published in the February 4, 2011 edition edition of the Federal Register, the rule proposes to implement the first track of a previously-discussed three-track examination process. In most cases, the new program will result in either allowance or final rejection within 12 months of filing. The price for this expedited review will be $4,000, plus the typical filing, search and examination fees that must accompany an application.
This new option does not replace the USPTO’s existing accelerated examination program or Patent Prosecution Highway programs, which allow expedited review in certain situations. However, unlike many of the existing programs, the new program is not limited to any particular technology area or foreign filing status, and it does not require the applicant to submit detailed search reports with the filing.
if the proposal is made final, only new applications will be eligible for the fast-track program. The request and fee must be filed when the application is filed.
The USPTO is accepting comments on the proposed rule through March 7, 2011.
Hmm…in part it seems like it would make the patent system work more for those with money and less for small inventors. But, such is life already….maybe it would be better if there was a graduated fee based on entity size?
Here is a similar story
Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provided additional details regarding its proposed “Three Track” patent examination initiative. An outline of the Office’s Three Track program, or Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative, was originally provided in a Federal Register notice (75 Fed. Reg. 31763) published last June (see “USPTO Publishes Notice Regarding Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative”). In that notice, the Office indicated that under the Three Track proposal, applicants would be able to: (1) request “prioritized examination” (Track I examination), (2) request a delay of up to 30 months in the docketing of a non-continuing application (Track III examination), or (3) make neither of these requests and receive the current application processing (Track II examination). That notice also indicated that the fee for Track I examination “would be set at a level to provide the resources necessary to increase the work output of the USPTO so that the aggregate pendency of nonprioritized applications would not increase due to work being done on the prioritized application.”
It is important to put an end to fee diversion before the 3-track patent plan goes into effect — otherwise, the legislature will surely siphon off substantial revenue from the hew plan, and it would be criminal to let Congress plunder an even bigger share of the patent office’s earnings.