By: Timothy Snowden, Patent Agent

Nimble inventors and small companies seeking to commercialize inventive solutions to COVID-19 now have an opportunity to ‘sprint’ ahead in line when applying for a US patent. In response to the pandemic, the United States Patent Office has initiated a limited-space prioritized examination program for small and micro-entity applicants.

To qualify, your non-provisional utility patent application (provisional and design applications don’t count here) must claim “a product or process related to COVID-19.”

The USPTO defines ‘related to COVID-19’ as a product or process which is subject to FDA approval for COVID-19 use. In other words, if you claim a medical device or drug that is applicable to the pandemic, your application may qualify for the prioritized examination pilot program.

If your application is admitted into the pilot program, the USPTO will prioritize examination – or “advance it out of turn” (skip the line)! The Patent Office’s goal is to urge these COVID-19 related applications to final disposition (either allowance or a final rejection) within ONE year. Even more, the Patent Office believes that timeline can be shortened to SIX MONTHS if the applicant responds to the Examiner quickly.

Even better, the normal fees associated with prioritized examination (over $1000) are waived for small-entities and micro-entities who qualify for this program. The only catch to the program: only 500 applications will be accepted. Inventors have already submitted 274 applications to the program, so there’s not time to lose.

How Do I Get Started?

If you have an application that you believe might qualify for the COVID-19 prioritized examination program, feel free to contact us for a complimentary review. We look forward to assisting you in fighting COVID-19!