This week, the USPTO published a final rule that will allow applicants to speed up the patent examination process in exchange for a substantial fee. Published in the April 4, 2011 edition edition of the Federal Register, the rule implements the first track of a previously-discussed three-track examination process.
The new prioritized examination program will begin on May 4, 2011. In most cases, the new prioritized examination program will result in either allowance or final rejection within 12 months of filing. The price for this expedited review will be $4,000 (regardless of entity size), plus the typical filing, search and examination fees that must accompany an application.
Only new, original applications filed after May 4, 2011 will be eligible for the fast-track program. The request for prioritized examination, all fees, and all inventor declarations must be filed at the time that the application is filed.
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 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.
UPDATE: In an April 21, 2011 email to USPTO employees, Director David Kappos announced that this program would be suspended until further notice because of USPTO funding cuts in 2011.
The potential end to fee diversion (via the patent reform legislation currently making its way through Congress) certainly came at the right time. It would have been criminal to have allowed Congress to raid the USPTO of the increased revenue that the patent office is likely to earn through Track One of the 3-track system.
I have develped a rotary engine and wish it to be patented as quickly as possible.. How fast can I get it patented. I am a Kenya resident. Do I need international patent or can I patent my design for certain countries only.? Money should not be problem.
@ MG: There is no such thing as an international patent. Although you can file an international application to obtain a preliminary assessment of patentability, ultimately you will need to file in each country where you want patent coverage. For details about timing and procedures for patent applications in the United States, please see my previous post: https://ipspotlight.com/2011/03/29/an-overview-of-the-patent-application-process-in-the-united-states/