The primary stages of the patent application process include:
- Patent search and application preparation
- Working with the patent office via a patent examiner
- Patent maintenance, if a patent is approved, requiring renewal fees
At the beginning of the patent process, you might be on the lookout for ways to accelerate the process. Your application is ready to be sent. Here are a few options to consider:
- Track one. You could financially invest more into the application process. By filing a track one petition, the examination of your application is expedited. While there is no guaranteed timeframe, the application tends to be processed within 6 to 12 months. The procedure is simple, but there is an additional fee of $1,000, $2,000 or $4,000, depending on what type of ‘entity’ you are.
- Petition to make special. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers what is called a petition to make special. You may be eligible for this expedited examination depending on 1) your age, and/or 2) your health. Your patent application will be examined faster if you are 65 years or older. Evidence such as a birth certificate or passport is required for approval. Health can also lead to a faster examination, if you face health issues and might not be available as the process unfolds. A doctor’s certificate is needed.
- Accelerated Examination This is a seldom used program, due to some particularly onerous requirements that most patent attorneys advise against trying to meet.
Pros and cons of an accelerated examination process
An accelerated patent examination can benefit companies and individuals who want to protect their invention as soon as possible. An accelerated patent examination can take as little as six months. Disadvantages include some added fees and, in certain cases, limits on the number of claims in each application. Though an accelerated examination saves time, there is no guarantee or set deadline.