Patent Office On Speed

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.

“In 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,” the PTO notes.

The first patent under the expedited process was issued to Brother International, Ltd, for a printer ink gauge, on March 13. “Average 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,” says the PTO announcement.

Under the expedited process, “applicants 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. …Applicants' submissions enjoy a presumption of patentability.”

(Hat tip: Slashdot)