June 29, 2006

On Monday, the USPTO announced a new program that would allow patent applicants to apply for patent and receive a final decision on whether or not the application will be granted or denied within 12 months. The accelerate review can take place in part from the additional information provided by the applicant at the time of filing. According to the June 26 Federal Register, there are several requirements for participation, including an application with a maximum of 3 independent claims and 20 total claims, and must include “a statement that a preexamination search was conducted, including an identification of the field of search by United States class and subclass and the date of the search, where applicable, and for database searches, the search logic or chemical structure or sequence used as a query, the name of the file or files searched and the database service, and the date of the search,” along with a number of additional enumerated requirements. According to the USPTO, “[t]his increased disclosure upfront by applicants will help examiners more quickly make the correct decision about whether a claimed invention deserves a patent.” Some of the requirements for participation in this program are similar to those announced back in January as pertaining to continuation practice, which has, in the opinion of some practitioners (see the reference link below to over 300 comments), have some advantages as well as some specific disadvantages.

USPTO Press Release: LINK
Federal Register Excerpt re: Accelerated Program (June 26, 2006): LINK
Federal Register Excerpt re: Continuation Practice (January 3, 2006): LINK
Public Comments to Proposed Continuation Practice and Related Changes: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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