Voluntary early publication of patent applications

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The COVID-19 outbreak is a global crisis in need of creative solutions. The American patent system has long facilitated such creativity. It serves as the engine of economic growth in the United States by securing exclusive rights for inventors and disseminating technical knowledge to the public. The patent system has endured war, crises, and economic turmoil by providing society with a steady pipeline of solutions. To further this long tradition, the USPTO reminds patent applicants to consider voluntary early publication of patent applications involving technologies related to the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

The USPTO recognizes the value of free-flowing technical information among the nation’s brightest minds, and patent publications are an important source of information for researchers and inventors. Early publication of patent applications will yield a significant benefit to these communities, especially those working hard to find creative solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak. Early voluntary publication can facilitate collaborations, partnerships, or joint ventures. These, in turn, can spur and expedite the development of critically needed technologies.

Generally, the USPTO publishes pending patent applications 18 months after the earliest effective filing date. No fee is required for publishing an application. Existing USPTO regulations also provide for earlier publication at the request of an applicant. Interested applicants may submit a request for early publication of their application in compliance with 37 CFR 1.219. The USPTO will publish the application as soon as possible if it is otherwise ready for publication. For more information, visit the USPTO's Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP).