Track 1 Prioritized Examination

Track-1 patent applications
High speed Track-1 patent applications

In a rush to get your patent? Consider Track-1 filings.

It is not uncommon for the average patent application to sit for 1-2+ years at the patent office before the examiner even begins to start examining the patent application.  The examiner then usually sends a first office action, which often rejects all claims, and upon receiving a response will then wait for several more months before replying.  So this is usually a slow, multi-year, process.

However, a few years back, the USPTO realized that patent applicants were willing to pay more money to go faster. The USPTO obtains its funding from patent fees.  A light went on, and they started offering a faster, Track-1 examination service, at a higher price.

Based on an analysis of statistics, the website patentlyo.com reports that the Track 1 prioritized examination method is far and away the best way to go.  This method vastly outperforms other speed-up methods (Accelerated Exam, Patent Prosecution Highway, and Petition to Make Special).  In fact, many of these prioritized patent applications are through the process in less than a year.

Track 1 is easy to do, if expensive.  There is no requirement to do extra patent searching, and no requirement to work with foreign patent offices.  If you are an independent inventor or your company is under 500 people in size, it is simply a matter of electing Track 1 at the time of initial filing, and in addition to the regular patent application fees, paying an additional $2070 in exam fees, processing fees, and publication fees.  It is also possible to elect Track 1 for an RCE filing as well.

The main other requirements are that the patent application have less than 4 independent claims and no more than 30 claims, which is not generally a problem for most purposes.  There are a few other rules as well – a complete application must be submitted at the time of filing, and no extensions of time on replies are allowed.  All in all, however, if you are in a rush and are willing to pay extra, it is a good option to consider.