By Dennis Crouch
The PTO backlog and resulting delays in prosecution is rightfully a common topic of discussion for patent applicants. However, there are also a growing number of patents being issued on a much shorter timeline through the USPTO's prioritized examination program known as "Track 1." Under the program, applicants pay a $4,800 fee to be advanced in the prosecution queue.
Of the 5,200 utility patents issued this week, 34 of them took the Track 1 route to patentability. On average, those patents were pending for 11 months (filing date to issue date). This compares with a 39-month average for the rest of the pack of issued patents. In this small sample, Google is the most filer with 9 of the 34 patents. Only one of the patents is owned by a foreign entity (Beijing Tang-An). About half of the patents claim priority to a prior non-provisional application.
Since the program began a little over one year ago, there have been about 6,000 Track 1 petitions. The vast majority of those have been granted or are currently under consideration with less than 5% of petitions denied.