The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced a final rule change permitting applicants to request prioritized examination for applications after the filing of a request for continued examination.
The changes in this final rule are applicable to any patent application in which a proper request for continued examination has been filed before, on, or after December 19, 2011.
“Our goal is to continually provide patent applicants with a variety of processing options that are more responsive to their real-world needs,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, David Kappos.
Following passage of the Leahy-Smith ‘America Invents Act’ in September this year, the USPTO began accepting requests for prioritized examination of patent applications through the Track I prioritized patent examination program.
Track I provides applicants with greater control over when their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process. Track I allows inventors and businesses, for a fee, to have their patents processed within 12 months.
Under the procedure set forth in this final rule, it is said that, once the application is accorded special status after the filing of a request for continued examination, it will be placed on the examiner’s special docket throughout its entire course of continued prosecution before the examiner until a final disposition is reached in the application.