Getting a patent through the system can be a long and expensive process. The last thing you want is to add to those costs by sitting in line for your appeal. Fortunately, there’s a new program that could shave off over half your wait.

The current hold for an ex parte patent appeal averages out to around 15 months, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is trying out a new system to get the period down to six months. For a few dollars more, you could see your patent application travel through the pipeline a little faster.

Getting ahead

The pilot program complements the Track One system already in place, which focuses on the expedited process of initial patent approval. The USPTO intends the new option to shore up slowdowns on other parts of your application. To get on board, you’ll need to pay a $400 petition fee along with all the usual materials the USPTO requires for ex parte appeals.

Narrow windows

You may have a chance to participate in the pilot if you’re looking for a review of an examiner’s decision on your patent, but no everyone will get in. The USPTO will only take on about 8% of the total number of appeals coming through, with an annual limit of 500 cases. The program also comes with a few caveats:

  • You can’t take part if you already have an expedited status
  • You might have fewer options when scheduling oral hearings
  • Rescheduling a hearing could cost your eligibility

The USPTO has high hopes for the experiment but may cut it short if things aren’t going as planned. If the method doesn’t help speed along the process, or not enough applicants take part, they may shutter the program.

Getting your patent through the process as quickly as possible could be essential for your business. Waiting on processing can be excruciating, so navigating new possibilities as they arise may be one more way to get a step ahead of the competition.