News

USPTO Launches Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program

Andrew B. Freistein

July 7, 2020

On July 2, 2020, the USPTO launched a Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program to
provide for the advancement of applications out of turn in ex parte appeals before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) by filing a petition and paying a $400 fee. The PTAB’s goal is to reach a decision on the appeal within six months of grant of the petition. A decision on the petition should be reached within one month of filing.

To be eligible, the application must be an original utility, design or plant nonprovisional application. Applications treated as special, such as reissue applications and reexamination proceedings, are not eligible.

The petition and fee may be filed anytime between (1) the date when the PTAB issues a notice that the appeal has been docketed to the PTAB and (2) the date at which the appellant withdraws the appeal, a final decision is render by PTAB, or PTAB jurisdiction ends.

A fast-track petition can be filed for an ex parte appeal regardless of whether the appeal is newly docketed or was previously docketed. Additionally, a fast-track petition can be filed for an ex parte appeal in which the appellant seeks an oral hearing or does not seek an oral hearing.

The number of fast-track appeals is limited to 125 granted petitions per quarter and a total of 500 granted petitions. The pilot program is being adopted on a temporary basis until July 2, 2021 or 500 appeals have been fast-tracked.

Additional information on the program can be found on the PTAB’s webpage and the Federal Register Notice.