COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will accept requests for prioritized examination filed in qualifying patent applications until midnight on May 11, 2023, without requiring payment of certain fees associated with prioritized examination. Under this pilot, the USPTO will advance out of turn certain patent applications related to COVID-19 for examination, resulting in their prioritized examination. The USPTO aims to provide final disposition of patent applications in the pilot in one year or less after it grants prioritized status. 

COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program description: 

  • Applications must contain one or more claims to a product or process related to COVID-19.
  • Such claimed product or process must be subject to an applicable Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for COVID-19 use.
  • The request must include a certification that the applicant qualifies for either small or micro entity status and an executed Application Data Sheet (ADS) meeting the requirements of 37 CFR 1.53(f)(3)(i). 
  • Applicants must file a grantable request under this initiative using the USPTO patent electronic filing system (EFS-Web or Patent Center) if filing the request in a utility application.
  • Applicants should use Pilot Program Form PTO/SB/450 to request participation in the pilot.
  • The pilot is open to: 
    • non-continuing, original, nonprovisional utility or plant patent applications filed with an acceptable request to participate 
    • original, nonprovisional utility or plant applications making a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) to one prior nonprovisional application or one prior international application designating the United States filed with an acceptable request to participate 
    • utility or plant applications, including the national stage of a prior international application, in which an acceptable request to participate has been filed with or after a request for continued examination (RCE), if no prior RCE was granted prioritized examination status.  
  • The fees set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(c) and (i)(1) are not required to participate in the program.

Any application that claims the benefit of the filing date of two or more previously filed non-provisional U.S. applications or international applications designating the United States under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) is not eligible for participation in this pilot, but the applicant may request prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e). 

Benefit claims to one or more prior provisional applications under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) or foreign priority claims under 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) or (f) will not cause a non-provisional application to be ineligible for this pilot.

How to file

  • Fill out Pilot Program Form PTO/SB/450.
  • Save the form and upload it via our patent electronic filing system, EFS-Web.
  • For Original Utility (Track One)—Prioritized Examination, select “New application/proceeding Utility > Track I Prioritized Examination - Nonprovisional Application under 35 USC 111(a)” as the EFS-Web submission type. Do not choose “Utility > Nonprovisional Application under 35 USC 111(a)“ or “Utility > Accelerated Exam.”
  • For Request for Continued Examination—Prioritized Examination, select “Existing application/patent/proceeding” > “Documents/Fees for an existing application/proceeding” as the EFS-Web submission type.
  • When uploading your PTO/SB/450 form, select document description “COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Request” (found under both the “Track I - Prioritized Examination” and “Pilot Programs” categories) on the EFS-Web Attach Documents screen to ensure processing.


Public comments

Questions and Answers


Contact us

For questions about EFS-Web or the PAIR system, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197.

For questions regarding the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program Federal Register notice, please contact Robert Clarke at 571-272-7735 or via email at