USPTO Extends Temporary Program Aimed at Reducing the Backlog of Unexamined Patent Applications

Patent Attorney Stan ChalvireBy: Stan Chalvire

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently extended its temporary initiative aimed at reducing the backlog of unexamined patent applications. The Patent Application Backlog Reduction Stimulus Plan, which was originally scheduled to remain in effect until February 28, 2010, has now been extended until June 30, 2010.

As previously announced, the USPTO’s initiative provides small entity applicants (generally individual inventors, non-profit corporations or business entities having less than 500 employees) an opportunity to have their unexamined patent applications accorded special status and examined out of turn. To be accorded special status, however, the small entity applicant must expressly abandon another unexamined patent application that is pending at the same time. Both the patent application for which special status is sought and the expressly abandoned patent application must either be owned by the same party or name at least one common inventor, and have been filed prior to October 1, 2009.

Small entity applicants with multiple unexamined patent applications pending before the USPTO should consider whether the USPTO’s temporary initiative would provide them with meaningful strategic advantages and whether such advantages outweigh the relative risks of expressly abandoning a co-pending application.

For more information on patent applications, please contact Stan Chalvire.

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