The United States Patent and Trademark Office is trying out a program to speed up the time it takes to issue a patent.
The Commerce Department agency announced earlier this month that it issued its first patent under an accelerated examination program that began in August 2006.
â€œIn return for cutting the time to obtain a patent decision by 25-75%, the agency asks the applicant for a better application and process. Inventors who want speedy results can get them, so long as they help improve the process,â€ the PTO notes.
The first patent under the expedited process was issued to Brother International, Ltd, for a printer ink gauge, on March 13. â€œAverage review time for applications in the ink cartridge technology area is 25.4 months. This patent issued in 6 months, a time savings of 18 months for the patent holder,â€ says the PTO announcement.
Under the expedited process, â€œapplicants are required to provide specific information, known as an examiner support document, so that review of the application can be completed rapidly and accurately. In return, the USPTO issues a final decision by the examiner within 12 months on whether their application for a patent will be granted or denied. â€¦Applicants' submissions enjoy a presumption of patentability.â€
(Hat tip: Slashdot)