PTO Increases Annual Limit of Track One Prioritized Examination to Keep Pace with Applicant Interest

In recognition of the high interest level in the program, the PTO recently announced it is increasing the annual limit on Track One Prioritized Examinations from 10,000 to 12,000, effective September 3, 2019, to prevent exceeding the limit this fiscal year, which concludes on September 30. 12,000 will be the new limit going forward as well.

Applicants are using Track One Prioritized Examinations to expedite patent issuances now more than ever. This is likely because of the greater certainty and success that can result from utilizing this program. For an arguably reasonable fee ($4000 for large entities; $2000 for small entities; $1000 for micro entities), applicants can receive up to two Office Actions on the merits within 12 months of filing the application. Currently applicants seeking Track One Prioritized Examination are receiving first Office Actions within about three and a half months of filing their patent applications, and two Office Actions (the second Office Action being a Final Rejection, a Notice of Abandonment, or a Notice of Allowance) within about eight months of filing their patent applications. This is in stark contrast to a patent application that follows the normal track in which applicants are receiving a first Office Action within about 16 months of filing their patent applications, and two Office Actions within about 24 months of filing their patent applications. On average, patents filed using Track One Prioritized Examination are being allowed just over six months after an application is filed, with about 53% of all cases being allowed during the program. Further, even those cases that are not allowed during the Track One Prioritized Examination period may eventually be allowed, as the 53% statistic only accounts for cases allowed during the one year program. We anticipate as a whole the percentage of allowed cases that utilize the Track 1 Prioritized Examination program meets or exceeds the allowance rate for applications that do not utilize the program.

This blog has covered the benefits of Track One Prioritized Examination on a number of occasions, including in 2016, 2014, and twice in 2011. If you think you might want to quicken your path to allowance, consult your IP attorney about Track One Prioritized Examination, among a number of other techniques that exist to expedite patent prosecution.

Maximizing the protection and value of intellectual property assets is often the cornerstone of a business's success and even survival. In this blog, Nutter's Intellectual Property attorneys provide news updates and practical tips in patent portfolio development, IP litigation, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and licensing.

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