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USPTO to Propose New Three Track Examination System -- FINALLY!

Today the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will propose a three-track patent examination system to allow patent applicants to pay an additional fee “to jump to the front of the line and receive expedited reviews.”  According to the article, the USPTO has not decided how much expedited processing would cost.  The middle track of the three-track system would be similar to the current examination system.  “The slowest track would allow companies and inventors to pay a smaller fee and essentially park their applications for up to 30 months before patent examination begins.”

This option was essentially available under the old rules by filing a petition to make special.  The previous USPTO administration then made the requirements to petition so onerous that it was all but unavailable to applicants.  Hats off again to Director Kappos and Commissioner Stoll.  A little common sense goes a long way.

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