COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program - CLOSED

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is no longer accepting requests for prioritized examination filed in qualifying patent applications related to COVID-19. The pending petitions will be taken in turn as set forth in the original notice, i.e., in the order that the applications are in condition for examination. The Office will treat any pending petition in an application that was filed by May 11, 2023.

Going forward, applicants may instead use the Prioritized Examination (Track I) program or the accelerated examination program. Both the Track I and accelerated examination programs not only provide advancement of examination, but set a target of reaching final disposition within 12 months from the time advancement is initiated.

COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program description:

  • Applications had to contain one or more claims to a product or process related to COVID-19.

  • Such claimed product or process had to be subject to an applicable Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for COVID-19 use.

  • The request had to include a certification that the applicant qualified 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 had to file a grantable request under this initiative using the USPTO Patent Center if filing the request in a utility application.

  • Applicants should have used Pilot Program Form PTO/SB/450 to request participation in the pilot.

  • The pilot was 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) were not required to participate in the program.

Any application that claimed 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) was 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) did not cause a non-provisional application to be ineligible for this pilot.


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For questions about Patent Center, 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