April's advice article
A patent application submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can be advanced if it is awarded special status. You, the applicant, can file a petition, with the appropriate showing, for this special status. The USPTO provides a temporary basis where a small entity applicant can be awarded special status for examination if they expressly abandon another unexamined copending application. This procedure allows you to move your invention of greatest importance forward, while stimulating a reduction in the USPTO's backlog of unexamined patent applications.
Conditions for Filing
Conditions for being accorded special status for examination under Project Exchange/Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan:
(1) The application for which special status is sought is a nonprovisional application that has an actual filing date earlier than October 1, 2009, in which the applicant has established small entity status under 37 CFR 1.27.
(2) The applicant has another copending nonprovisional application that has an actual filing date earlier than October 1, 2009, and is complete under 37 CFR 1.53. For example, the application must contain an executed oath or declaration and payment of the filing fee, the search fee, the examination fee, any applicable application size fee, and any applicable excess claims fee.
(3) The application for which special status is sought and the other copending nonprovisional application must be either owned by the same party as of October 1, 2009, or name at least one inventor in common.
(4) The applicant must file a letter of express abandonment under 37 CFR 1.138(a) in the copending nonprovisional application before it has been taken up for examination, and includes with the letter of express abandonment a statement that the applicant has not and will not file an application that claims the benefit of the expressly abandoned application under any provision of title 35, United States Code, and that the applicant agrees not to request a refund of any fees paid in the expressly abandoned application.
(5) The applicant files a petition under 37 CFR 1.102 in the application for which special status is sought. The petition must:
a) Identify the basis under which special status is being sought (express abandonment of another copending application).
b) Include a copy of a letter of express abandonment and the statement that accompanies the letter of express abandonment from the copending application that was expressly abandoned.
c) The express abandonment of an application may not form the basis for more than one petition under 37 CFR 1.102.
(6) The requirement for a fee to consider a petition to make special for applications pertaining to Project Exchange/Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan is waived.
Concerning EFS-Web or PAIR system, contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197.
Concerning a specific petition, contact the Office of Petitions at 571-272-3282.
Concerning the Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan Pilot Program Notice, contact the Office of Patent Legal Administration at 571-272-7701 or e-mail PatentPractice@uspto.gov.