USPTO Patent Application Initiatives - Prior to Examination

  Track One (Prioritized Examination) Accelerated Examination Collaborative Search Pilot (CSP) Full First Action Interview Pilot Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Glossary Pilot Ombudsman Program
Description The goal is to provide a final disposition within twelve months, on average, of prioritized status being granted.
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Accelerated examination provides applicant the opportunity to have final disposition of an application in 12 months.
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An applicant, with a corresponding application in either Japan or Korea, may request a collaborative serial (JPO) or parallel (KIPO) search prior to entering the full first action interview pilot program. Examination of your application under CSP is accelerated and will result in an earlier determination of patentability. Under this Program, an applicant is entitled to a first action interview, upon request, prior to the first Office action on the merits. An applicant receiving a ruling from the Office of Earlier Examination (OEE) that at least one claim in an application filed in the OEE is patentable may request that the Office of Later Examination (OLE) fast-track examination of the corresponding claims.
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Focus on enhancing claim clarity in the specification of software-related applications through the use of glossaries. The Patents Ombudsman Program enhances the USPTO's ability to assist applicants or their representatives with issues that arise during patent application prosecution.
Program Start Date

09/2011 (AIA)

08/2006

8/1/2015 (JPO); 9/1/2015(KIPO)

10/2009

Global/IP5 PPH - 2014

PCT PPH - 2010

Paris PPH - 2006

06/02/2014

04/2010

Currently Active (accepting applications)

Yes

Yes

Yes (as of 8/1/2015)

Yes, extended beyond 11/16/12

Yes

Yes (as of 06/02/14)

Yes

Petition / Request

Request

Petition

Petition

Request

Global/IP5 PPH - Petition

PCT PPH - Request

Petition

Request

Surcharge / Fee

Yes - $4800 / $2400 small entity; $4000/$2000 as of 3/19/13

Yes - $130 ***

No

No

No

No

No

Claim Number Limit(s)

Yes - 4 Indep., no more than 30 claims

Yes - 3 Indep., no more than 20 claims

Yes - 3 Indep., no more than 20 claims

Yes - 3 Indep., no more than 20 claims

Global/IP5 PPH - No (may file 3 Indep & no more than 20 claims; or may pay excess claim fees for any additional claims).

PCT PPH - No

Yes - 4 Indep., no more than 30 claims

N/A

Shortened Prosecution Time

Yes - goal is an average of 12 months to final disposition

Yes - goal is 12 months to final disposition. Non-extendable 1 month response time until final rejection or allowance.

Yes – leverage fast track patent examination and shortened response period

Yes - due to shortened response period(s)

Global/IP5 PPH - Yes (due to earlier FAOM)

PCT PPH - will leverage fast-track patent examination procedures already available at both EPO and USPTO.

Yes - due to earlier First Action

N/A

Special Status

Until final disposition

Until final disposition

Through first action

No

Global/IP5 PPH - Until final disposition

PCT PPH - Yes

Until mailing of First Action

N/A

Examination Support Document

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

N/A

Shortened / Non-extendable Response Times

Yes **

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

N/A

Interview Required

No

Yes *

Yes

Yes

No

No

N/A

Continuation Applications & RCEs Eligible for Program

Yes

Yes (only at the time of filing)

Yes (only CONs & DIVS before FOAM, not RCEs)

Yes (only CONs & DIVS before FOAM, not RCEs)

Global/IP5 PPH - Yes (only CONs & DIVS before FAOM, not RCEs)

PCT PPH - N/A

Yes (Only CIPs)

Yes

Duration or Application Limit

10,000 per year

Unlimited, no expiration

2 years for each pilot; 400 for USPTO first search/400 for JPO first search in JPO pilot; 400 KIPO pilot.

Unlimited, Extended beyond 11/16/12

Global/IP5 PPH - Unlimited, Indefinite

PCT PPH - Indefinite

6 months or 200 applications, whichever occurs first

Unlimited, no expiration

Status of Program

Pilot

Permanent

Pilot

Pilot

Global PPH - extended indefinitely

IP5 PPH - expires 1/5/2017

PCT PPH - Pilot; Indefinite

Pilot

Permanent

* if claims are in condition for allowance no interview is required
** if extension of time is filed, application is out of Track One
*** no fee if statement of claimed subject matter is directed to environmental quality, energy, or countering terrorism