On July 2, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program to speed up patent examination and ex parte appeals. The USPTO expects the average ex parte appeal to be decided within six months from the date a petition to request the fast-track appeal is granted.
The fee for a petition is $400 and the number of granted petitions will be limited to 500 per program year or 125 per quarter (the first quarter beginning on the program start date of July 2, 2020). To maintain the fast-track schedule, Oral Hearings will be expedited and cannot be rescheduled or relocated. Ordinary Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) hearing procedures will be applied, but hearings are currently conducted only by telephone.
To qualify for fast-track status, four conditions must be met: (1) the application must be an original utility, design, or plant non-provisional application; (2) the appeal must be an ex parte appeal for which a Notice of Appeal has been filed and a PTAB Docketing Notice has been issued by the USPTO; (3) the appellant must file a petition under 37 CFR 41.3 electronically identifying the application and appeal number; and (4) the appellant must pay the $400 fee.
If you have any questions about the USPTO Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program, please contact us.