How to Expedite Utility Patent Applications

The road to getting a US utility patent application allowed is often a long and expensive journey. If you want to expedite your your US utility application, it would be worthwhile to determine whether your application is eligible for one of the following quick and easy options:

If the above quick fixes are not available, you will have to file a request to expedite your patent application that will require either high government fees or high effort (read: high attorney’s fees).

Track One Prioritized Examination

The Track One option requires low attorney effort, but high USPTO fees. Since the Track One request must be filed concurrently with the initial filing of the application, you may need to file a continuation if you’re considering prioritized examination after having already filed a non-provisional application. ┬áHere are the pros and cons of the Track One program:

Pros of Prioritized Examination

  • No prior patentability search (pre-examination search report) required
  • Final disposition (i.e., allowance or final rejection) reached within one year of grant of request

Cons & Limits of Prioritized Examination

  • High USPTO fees (large entity: $4,000; small entity: $2,000)
  • Limited to 10,000 applications per year
  • No more than four independent claims and 30 total claims
  • Track One request must be made at initial filing (consider filing a continuation if an application already exists)

Accelerated Examination

Accelerated Examination requires a low government fee, but significantly more legal work upfront. Grounds for filing a petition for accelerated examination may include:

  • enhancing the quality of the environment;
  • contributing to the development or conservation of energy resources; or
  • countering terrorism.

Pros of Accelerated Examination

  • May be filed after initial filing of application
  • Low USPTO fees (large entity: $140; small entity $70)
  • Requires

Cons & Limits of Accelerated Examination

  • no more than 3 independent claims and 20 total claims
  • requires pre-examination search documents
  • requires accelerated examination support document that must include an identification of all limitations in the claims that are disclosed in each prior art reference (can lead to admissions against interest in subsequent litigation due to the applicant previously admitting that certain claim limitations are found in particular prior art references)


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Vic Lin

Vic Lin

Startup Patent Attorney | IP Chair at Innovation Capital Law Group
We love working with startups and small businesses. I help entrepreneurs protect their intellectual property so they can reach their business goals.