The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has introduced a pilot program to provide prioritized patent examination for patent applications that cover a product or process related to COVID-19. The product or process must be subject to an applicable U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for COVID-19 use.
Under the pilot program, the USPTO will grant qualified requests for prioritized examination without payment of the fees normally required for prioritized examination when an application is a small or micro entity. Importantly, the pilot program will initially be limited to 500 requests. The USPTO has indicated that the goal of prioritized examination is to provide a final disposition (i.e., allowance or refusal) within 12 months from the date the prioritized status was granted.
Specific details on the eligibility for the COVID-19 pilot program are outlined here.