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Prioritized Examination

Prioritized Examination

37 CFR 1.17(c)

Request for prioritized examination fee $ 4,000.00 large; $2,000.00 small; $1,000.00 micro

Effective from September 26, 2011, an applicant can pay an additional fee to file a request (Track I Petition) for prioritized examination of a nonprovisional application for an original utility or plant patent. Only applies to nonprovisional applications (including continuing applications) filed via EFS-Web after September 26 that are complete and which are accompanied by request for prioritized examination. Filing an RCE, extension of time, suspension of action, or amendment exceeding claims to 4 independent claims or 30 total claims terminates prioritized examination.

The required petition is very simple, and as of January 3, 2012, 1,694 Track I petitions have been submitted to the USPTO. On average it is taking 40.8 days to move Track I cases from receipt of petition to completion of pre-examination processing (which includes deciding on the petition). The longest it has taken is 95 days. On average only 10 of those 40.8 days are consumed in handling the Track I petitions, and 40.8 days in pre-exam for Track I compared to the USPTO normal (Track II) pre-exam processing time of 69.6 days.

Prioritized Examination after RCE: Effective from December 19, 2011, prioritized examination may be requested in an application where an RCE has been filed.

“Prioritized examination" under section 11 of AIA for a fee should not be confused with “priority examination" under section 25.

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