On July 2, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals. Under this new program, the pendency for ex parte appeals is expected within six months from the date that the appeal entered into the Fast-Track Appeal Pilot Program.
To qualify for fast-track status, appellants must file a petition with a $400 petition fee and the appeal for fast-track status 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. The USPTO has limited the number of granted petitions to 125 per quarter and a total of 500 per year. The Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program is offered on a temporary basis from July 2, 2020 to July 2, 2021, after which the USPTO may either extend or discontinue the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program.
The program is expected to serve as an extension of the Track One prioritized examination program and help inventors and businesses commercialize their patentable inventions sooner. Given that the current average time to a decision on an ex parte appeal is approximately fifteen months, the program is expected to provide a significant advantage for inventors and businesses.
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