This brief note is not legal advice and is for educational purposes only.
Congratulations – you’ve filed or are about to file a US patent application and you’ve looked at the stats for examination times, gasped, and want to know if you can speed up the examination process. Answer – possibly.
Speeding up examination is called “Advancement of Examination” (37 CFR 1.102)
Listed below in very brief summary form are several approaches related to “accelerated examination”. Note that many are NOT mutually exclusive. ALL require that you file a petition and comply with the applicable requirements and which if granted will accelerate the examination (By how much? Unknown). This is known as making the application “special”. Note that from time to time the USPTO announces new initiatives for speeding up applications considered in critical areas (AIDS, greentech, conservation, energy, etc.)
|Name||Description||$$||URL or form||Comments|
|Applicant’s Age||Age >= 65||None||PTO/SB/130||Only a single inventor need qualify. 37 CFR 1.102(c)(1)|
|Applicant’s Health||Medical certificate that inventor unlikely to participate during prosecution||None||PTO/SB/20GLBL Other forms for other countries – look for SB/20XX forms.||PPH good through at least 2023-01-05. Various programs Global PPH and IP5 program.|
|Track One Prioritized Examination||Fast track examination office action <= 1 year||Yes ~$2K||PTO/AIA/424||Limited to 10K-20K/yr.|
|WE DO NOT RECOMMEND ANY OF THESE BELOW because they all require an “Examination Support Document” an ESD which we in the patent field refer to as an Express Suicide Document because you must do the patent search and if you get it wrong now or in a challenge in the future your patent is cancelled. You basically are doing the USPTO’s job and guaranteeing the result. Extremely dangerous!|
|Accelerated Examination Program||For an invention directed to environmental quality, development or conservation of energy resources, or counter terrorism.|
Age and Track One are your most likely way to speed up an examination. Some can be filed after an RCE (Request for Continued Examination). Ask your patent attorney for more information as some of the interactions between these and the current state of any filed application can get complicated quickly. ASK if possible before you file your application.