Small/Micro Entities May Seek Prioritised Examination for COVID-19 Technology Patent Applications at USPTO Starting July 2020


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced a COVID-19 prioritised examination pilot programme, according to which applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status may file, at no additional fees, a request with the USPTO for prioritised examination of their COVID-19 technology patent applications.
The programme aims at achieving accelerated examination within 12 months from the grant of prioritised examination, or within six months, if the applicant responds promptly to communications from the USPTO. To qualify for the new programme, the application must contain one or more claims to a product or process that is subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19.
The pilot programme will accept requests for the prioritised examination beginning 13 July 2020 until the USPTO has accepted a total of 500 requests, which, however, may be extended or terminated depending on workload and resources needed to administer the programme, feedback from the public, and effectiveness of the programme.