The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced plans for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to begin accepting petitions for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals. The “Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program” launches July 2, 2020. The required petition fee is $400.
“The Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program serves as an extension of the Track One prioritized examination program, which has proven to be very popular with our nation’s innovators,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “For the first time in USPTO history, applicants will be able to speed up both patent examination and ex parte appeals, thus obtaining decisions on their most important inventions in about half the time of a typical application.”
The USPTO expects that the average ex parte appeal reviewed under the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program will be decided within six months from the date a petition is granted. “We have made great strides in recent years reducing our appeal pendency from a high of about 30 months on average in 2015 to a current average of about 14 months,” said Scott Boalick, Chief Judge for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. “I am thrilled that the PTAB will now be able to offer an even faster track for applicants who need it, allowing inventors and businesses to commercialize their patentable inventions sooner.”
Petition grants for fast-track review of ex parte appeals will initially be limited to a maximum of 500 per fiscal year, or 125 per quarter, for the program’s duration. In order to keep appeals on schedule, oral hearings under the program will be expedited and, once scheduled, will not be rescheduled or relocated.