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If I Prioritize Examination of My Application, Should the Patent Office?

By Justin M. Cook and Christian B.E. Hines of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

Justin M. Cook, an MBHB associate, concentrates his practice on intellectual property matters, including patent preparation and prosecution in the electrical and mechanical arts, and supporting intellectual property litigation.

Christian B.E. Hines, an MBHB associate, has a broad background in prosecution and litigation. He has experience prosecuting patents in the electrical and software arts, particularly relating to circuit topologies, networking devices, software, and computer systems.

Applications under the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) prioritized examination program are given “special status” and examined out-of-turn until a final disposition is reached.1 This program has considerably reduces delay incurred during prosecution for such applications. Notably, the average application pendency remains about 32 months.2 In this context, the stated goal to achieve final disposition within 12 months for prioritized examination applications initially seemed ambitious, but so far the USPTO has considerably over-performed even that benchmark. Applications under prioritized examination have reached final disposition in an average of 5.4 months after special status is granted.3 ...

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