USPTO year in review: Nearly 400 applications receive prioritized examination under USPTO’s historic COVID-19 relief programs

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) earlier this year launched the COVID-19 Prioritized Patent Examination Pilot Program and the COVID-19 Prioritized Trademark Examination Program.

These programs enable the USPTO to grant requests for prioritized examination to qualifying patent applicants and to accept petitions to advance the initial examination of applications for trademarks used to identify qualifying COVID-19 medical products and services, without payment of the typical fees associated with other prioritized examination.

Since the programs’ enactment in May 2020 for patents and June 2020 for trademarks:

  • 251 patent requests for prioritized patent application examination have been granted, resulting in 33 patents being allowed or granted, and 
  • 129 trademark petitions have been granted.

More than half of the patent applications granted prioritized examination are directed to medical treatments, vaccines, and diagnostic technology. The balance of the applications are directed to ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other technology related to COVID-19.

Almost half of the trademark petitions granted are for items designed to detect and treat COVID-19. The other half are for PPE and medical goods, as well as medical services related to COVID-19.

“Our staff is working very hard to move COVID-19 related patent and trademark requests, ensuring the intellectual property system is fully responsive to this national emergency,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Over the past two centuries, solutions to some of the nation’s greatest problems have passed through the halls of the USPTO, and it’s very likely that some of the solutions to America’s current pandemic have already been examined by this agency.”

For more information on applying, please visit the patent application and trademark application webpages on the USPTO website. For all news updates on the USPTO’s responses to the pandemic, please visit USPTO notices regarding COVID-19.