USPTO extends successful pilot program helping first-time patent filers

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the extension of the First-Time Filer Expedited Examination Pilot Program. This pilot program permits patent applications from eligible first-time filers to be advanced out-of-turn for examination and reviewed earlier (also known as being “accorded special status”). Eligible applications will receive expedited initial written feedback from patent examiners, known as the “first office action.” 

“Extending the successful First-Time Filer program is one of our many efforts to lift individuals and communities through our patent system,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “If we can give our nation’s emerging innovators faster feedback and accelerate getting their game-changing products to market, we can enable each of them to play their own role in solving local and world problems and contributing to job and economic growth.” 

In the first 12 months of the pilot, over 350 petitions requesting to participate have been filed, with more than 142 accepted, and 15 patents have been granted. 

The extended pilot program will run from March 11, 2024, until either March 11, 2025, or the date the USPTO grants a total of 1,000 petitions since the start of the pilot program, whichever occurs first. 

You can find more information on the program, including eligibility requirements, on the program webpage or in the Federal Register Notice, which is available on the USPTO’s Patent Related Notices webpage.