In a previous post, we discussed the USPTO’s Track One prioritized examination program. Let’s take a closer look.
The Track One program allows Applicants desiring special status for their applications to pay fees, rather than comply with the extensive requirements of the accelerated examination program. The goal of the Track One program is to provide a final disposition within about twelve months from an application’s entry into the program.
Not all applications are eligible. For example, national stage applications of PCT applications are ineligible. However, PCT bypass applications can be eligible.
So, what is a final disposition? The ideal disposition, of course, a Notice of Allowance. However, final dispositions also include final Office Actions and Notices of Appeal. So, rather than expecting an allowance, a more reasonable expectation might be receiving two Office Actions within 12 months.
When does an application enter the program? The USPTO does not specify a date. However, we saw an application enter into the program about 6 weeks after the application was filed. So, an application should enter examination significantly sooner than the typical application.
What are the fees? There are two additional fees for Track One. The most commonly discussed fee is the (undiscounted) prioritized examination fee of $4200 (as of December 2021). There is also a fee for requesting prioritized examination of $140 (undiscounted, as of December 2021).
Applications can lose their special Track One status a number of ways. Some common ways are (a) filing an Extension of Time to respond to an Office Action and (b) filing a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). After an RCE is filed, an application can regain its Track One status by filing a suitable request (with its attendant fees). However, only one Track One request can be filed with a RCE. So, if a Track One request is filed with a first RCE and a second RCE later becomes necessary, then it cannot be accompanied properly by a Track One request.
There are substantially more details to the Track One program. If Modal PLLC can assist you with these details, please contact us.