Patent Office Plans Fast|Track for Eager Inventors

     WASHINGTON (CN) – For a $4,800 fee, applicants for patents can have their application expedited through a fast track examination process that promises to provide final disposition on the application in 12 months, according to new rules proposed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.




     The agency is limiting the number of applications it will fast track to 10,000 and will revisit the cap at the end of the year to determine if the maximum should be raised or even eliminated.
     In June, the agency suggested three tracks for applications: Track I: the expedited option; Track II: the standard processing of applications; and Track III: the deferred track, which would allow applicants to file their patent with the office but would delay examination, and the fees required, for up to 30 months.
     The proposed rule does not include regulations for Track II or Track III because the agency wanted applicants who wish to use Track I to be able to do so as quickly as possible.
     A delayed examination would be an advantage for small businesses or individuals who can not afford the full of cost examination or might need additional time to work out the details of their application.
     The agency set the fee to recoup the cost of hiring and training additional staff to review expedited applications without having an impact on Track II applications.
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