Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

All Aboard the USPTO Express?

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on June 30, 2006

The USPTO has recently announced the publication of procedures for a 12-month “accelerated examination” program.  Under this program, a decision on patentability by an Examiner will be made within 12 months of filing, and upon granting of a petition to make special under the new procedures. 

In exchange, Applicant must submit an “accelerated examination support document.”  This document includes a prior art search (encompassing all the features of the claims, under their broadest reasonable interpretation) with analysis of the closest art.  A search report from a foreign patent office will not suffice.  Applicant must also provide an explanation of the usefulness of the invention and a showing of where the claims are supported in the specification. 

In addition to the burden associated with the support document, Applicant is limited to 20 claims and a one month period of Reply to Office Actions, with no extensions available. 

Further requirements and features of the program may be viewed at this notice in the Federal Register, and include: