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USPTO Proposes Three Processing Tracks for Patent Applications

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently proposed a “Three-Track” patent application processing system to provide a choice of examination timelines and to reduce application pendency times generally. The proposed three tracks are: (I) Prioritized Examination; (II) Traditional Examination; and (III) Delayed Examination. The prioritized examination would allow applicants to pay a fee to expedite the examination of the application, with a goal of issuing a first Office action on the merits within four months and a final disposition within one year of prioritized status being granted. The traditional examination would continue to follow current timelines and procedures. The delayed examination would allow for an applicant-controlled delay of up to 30 months prior to docketing the application for examination, at which point it would be treated like a traditional examination. The delayed examination would be for non-continuing applications that were first filed in the United States. Applications based on a prior foreign-filed application would receive no action until the USPTO receives a copy of any international search report, a copy of the first office action from the foreign office, and a copy of an appropriate reply to the foreign office action. Written comments related to this proposal must be submitted to the USPTO by August 20, 2010, and a public meeting regarding the same will be held at the USPTO on July 20, 2010 (registration closes on July 16, 2010 at 5 PM).

For additional information about the proposed “Three-Track system, click here.

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