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2014 Overview of USPTO Progams for Faster Examination
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2014 Overview of USPTO Progams for Faster Examination

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  • 1. Dana Stangel April, 2014 Fast Examination An Overview of Current USPTO Programs
  • 2. www.mstfirm.com Past & Current Programs • Past USPTO Programs & Initiatives • Current USPTO Programs & Initiatives • Other ways of influencing prosecution rate
  • 3. www.mstfirm.com Past USPTO Programs & Initiatives: Expired programs: • Project Exchange – Patent Backlog Reduction (2009-2011) • Green Technology (2006-2012) • Peer-to-Patent (2007-2011) • Older versions of current programs
  • 4. www.mstfirm.com Current USPTO Programs & Initiatives: • Prioritized Examination - Track 1 • Petition to Make Special • Accelerated Examination • First Action Interview • Patent Prosecution Highway
  • 5. www.mstfirm.com USPTO Initiatives
  • 6. www.mstfirm.com Track 1 • Fee: $4000 ($2000 small entity) • No missing parts • Claim limit: 4 independent / 30 total • No extensions of time
  • 7. www.mstfirm.com Petition to Make Special & Accelerated Exam • Age or health – No fee – Age ≥ 65 – Health: evidence ex-statement from a doctor • Note: Consider filing under MPEP 724.02 to keep medical information private • Other Grounds – Accelerated Examination – $140 fee – Requires search disclosure – Examination Support Document (AESD) – Claims: 3 independent 20 total – Interview may be required – 1 month shortened response time
  • 8. www.mstfirm.com First Action Interview • File Request • Claims: 3 independent, 20 total • Examiner will issue a Pre-interview Communication (PTOL-413FP) setting a one month (+1 mo. extension) time period to request or decline an interview
  • 9. www.mstfirm.com Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) PPH - Bilateral Agreements Allowable claims in the Office of First Filing (OFF), could then be used to expedite a US case (OSF-Office of Second Filing) with corresponding claims & no FOAM. PPH 2.0 / Mottainai Allowable claims in selected foreign offices can expedite a US case with corresponding claims & no FOAM. Consider DIV if favorable to some claims. PCT-PPH Favorably treated claims in ISR/WO can expedite a US case with corresponding claims & no FOAM. Consider DIV if favorable to some claims. もったいない Trivia – Mottainai is a Japanese term meaning: A sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized.
  • 10. www.mstfirm.com Other Ways to Influence Prosecution Speed • Effect of RCE on examination process • After Final Consideration Program (AFCP 2.0 – expiring 9/30/14) • Rule 496 – finding of patentability by ISA-US • Use of Interviews • Ombudsman Program
  • 11. www.mstfirm.com Comparison of Current Programs • Factors to consider: – Cost – Speed – Limits on number or scope of claims – Timing for request or petition
  • 12. www.mstfirm.com Cost of Program • Track 1 – Fee: $4000/2000 – Docketing shortened response • Accelerated Exam – Fee: $140 – Search & AESD preparation time – Potential estoppel issues – Docketing shortened response • First Action Interview – Docketing shortened response • Petition to make Special, PCT-PPH, PPH 2.0, – No cost
  • 13. www.mstfirm.com Speed & Effectiveness • Track 1 – 12 months • Accelerated Exam – 12 months • PPH – Out of turn examination • Petition to Make Special – Out of turn • First Action Interview – Shortened response
  • 14. www.mstfirm.com Claim Limits • Track 1 – 4 independent / 30 total • Accelerated Exam – 3 independent / 20 total • Petition to Make Special (Age/Health) – none • Patent Prosecution Highway – Must correspond to favorably treated claims • First Action Interview – 3 independent / 20 total
  • 15. www.mstfirm.com Timing of Request/Petition to Participate • Track 1 – When filing • Accelerated Exam – when filing • Petition to Make Special (Age/Health) – Anytime • Patent Prosecution Highway – Before First Office Action on the Merits (FOAM) • First Action Interview – Before First Office Action on the Merits (FOAM)
  • 16. www.mstfirm.com Track One (Prioritized Examination) Accelerated Examination Full First Action Interview Pilot Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH 2.0) PCT Patent Prosecution Highway (PCT PPH 2.0) Program Start Date 2011 (AIA) 2006 2009 2006 2010 Surcharge / Fee Yes - $4000/$2000 Yes - $140 (unless qualifying: environment , energy, or terrorism) No No No Claim Number Limit(s) Yes - 4 Indep., 30 total claims Yes- 3 Indep., 20 total claims Yes- 3 Indep., 20 total claims No No Shortened Prosecution Time Yes – goal is 12 months Yes – goal is 12 months. Non-extendable 1 month response time until final rejection or allowance. Yes – due to shortened response period(s) Yes – due to earlier FAOM Yes - Out of turn examination Special Status Until final disposition Until final disposition No Until final disposition Yes Examination Support Document No Yes No No No Shortened / Non- extendable Response Times Yes - Track 1 status revoked if extentions are filed Yes Yes No No Interview Required No Yes - unless claims are initially allowable Yes No No Continuation Applications & RCEs Eligible for Program Yes Yes - only at the time of filing Yes (only CONs & DIVS before FOAM, not RCEs) Yes - only CONs & DIVS before FOAM, not RCEs Yes - must request before FOAM in each application Duration or Application Limit 10,000 per year Unlimited, no expiration Unlimited, Extended beyond 11/16/12 Unlimited, no expirationExpires 01/28/14 Status of Program Pilot Permanent Pilot Permanent Pilot
  • 17. www.mstfirm.com Resources • http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/patapp-initiatives-timeline.jsp • http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/patapp-initiatives-prior.jsp • http://www.uspto.gov/patents/ombudsman.jsp • http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/notices/pph_2-0_ni.pdf • http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/notices/2013.jsp
  • 18. www.mstfirm.com Thank you!