The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced a “Track One” prioritized patent-examination initiative beginning on May 4, 2011. “Track One” will permit applicants to expedite the examination of their patent applications. For a $4,000 fee, applications will be placed on the examiner’s special docket throughout their entire course of prosecution with the goal of reaching a final disposition in 12 months. “Final disposition” means that the application is allowed, abandoned, or made subject to a final rejection, or the applicant files a notice of appeal. There is no guarantee that a patent will issue as a result of the expedited examination.
The Track One program is limited to 10,000 applications through the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2011). New or continuing applications (e.g., continuations or divisionals) are eligible for the program if they are filed on or after the effective implementation date. An application filed as a continuation or continuation-in-part application from a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international application is also eligible.
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