road fast.jpgOrange County – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has just released the details on a new patent examination initiative that would speed up the examination process to one year for those willing to pay.  Because of the large backlog, the process currently can take up to three years from the time of filing to hear anything at all back from the patent office.

The cost for the accelerated route is $4,000 which is in addition to the usual $1,090 fee for filing, search and examination.  United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stated, “This new system will bring the most valuable patents, as determined by inventors, to market faster and will help shrink the backlog by catering to the business needs of America’s innovators.”  The above fees are reduced for small entities.

Other details of the initiative involve limiting patent applicants to four independent claims and thirty total claims.  In fiscal 2010, it took the USPTO an average of 25 months for a first action and almost 3 years for a patent to issue.