By: Peter L. Holmes, Esq.
Update as of May 18, 2020
Note: The program’s effective date is May 14, 2020, not July 13 as erroneously stated in the original Federal Register notice.
The USPTO’s new COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for small and micro entities, beginning May 14, 2020, is accepting requests for prioritized examination of applications covering a product or process subject to an applicable FDA approval for COVID-19 use.
On May 14, 2020, a Federal Register notice was published announcing that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is implementing a COVID–19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program for small and micro entities, which provides prioritized examination of certain patent applications. See 85 FR 28932, printed version PDF. As provided in the notice, “to qualify, the claim(s) of an application must cover a product or process related to COVID-19, and such product or process must be subject to an applicable FDA approval for COVID-19 use.” Under this pilot program, the USPTO will grant qualified requests for prioritized examination without payment of certain fees associated with prioritized examination for applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status.
The COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program will accept requests for prioritized examination beginning May 14, 2020 until such time as the USPTO has accepted a total of 500 requests. The USPTO may extend the pilot program (with or without modifications) or terminate it depending on the workload and resources needed to administer the program, feedback from the public, and the effectiveness of the program. … [85 FR 28932, p. 28933]
As further provided in the notice:
The objective of the pilot program is to complete, on average, the examination of an application within 12 months of special status being granted (i.e., within 12 months from the mailing date of the decision granting the petition to make special). …
Applicants may shorten the overall pendency of an application in the pilot program by replying to Office actions and notices earlier than required by the USPTO. For example, the USPTO will endeavor to reduce pendency, from approval of the request for prioritized examination to final disposition, to six months if all replies occur within 30 days of a notice by the USPTO. …[85 FR 28932, pp. 28934 and 28935.]
If you have questions about this USPTO Pilot Program, or about patent or other intellectual property-related matters, please contact Peter L. Holmes. Peter is Counsel at Leech Tishman and a member of the Intellectual Property Practice Group and LaunchPad Start-Up Services legal group.
Peter is based in the LAX – El Segundo, CA office (Silicon Beach office) and can be reached at 424.738.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The content of this article is not, shall not under any circumstance be considered, and is not intended to be nor should be relied on as, legal advice. The content on this article is informational only. If you require legal assistance, seek out the advice of an attorney.
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