Following the passage of the America Invents Act last September, provisions surrounding the establishment of an expedited patent review process garnered attention from all corners of the intellectual property community. Last week, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials released a series of progress updates related to the Track I Prioritized Patent Examination Program.
The framework essentially enables independent inventors or corporations to pay an upfront fee to ensure their patent applications are processed within 12 months. According to a recent blog post from USPTO Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino, nearly 1,700 Track I petitions have been filed to date. This strategy has already proven successful for many, with 98.9 percent of applicants gaining protection for their intellectual assets.
"For those applicants or practitioners concerned about whether Track I applications will be treated differently from others in terms of grant/denial rate, our examiners are being given exactly the same training, credits and incentives to accurately examine Track I cases as for all other cases," Focarino wrote.
Inspired by this early success, USPTO Director David Kappos recently told IP Watchdog that his staff has been more than capable of handling the administrative burden so far and welcomes additional filings. According to Kappos, the agency is still well short of its self-imposed cap of 10,000 applications by September 2012.