Enhanced Prosecution techniques
Accelerated Examination (AE)

This U.S. Patent Office program pursues patent issuance within one year after filing. We have gotten patents issued in as little as 5 months using this program. AE incurs larger up-front costs, but reduces prosecution costs later. AE requires a patentability search and submission of an Examination Support Document explaining in detail how the claim elements distinguish the prior art found. This can create undesirable file history estoppel, but AE is useful in some circumstances, such as for pursuing narrowly tailored claims that are already infringed. http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/accelerated/index.jsp

Track One Prioritized Examination (PE)

This Patent Office program seeks final disposition (allowance or final rejection) in one year. It requires payment of an extra fee of $4000 ($2000 for small entity), and the application is limited to four independent claims and 30 claims in total. Unlike AE, no search or Examination Support Document is required, thus reducing risk of file history estoppel. All responses must be filed quickly, without extensions of time. http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/Track_One.jsp

Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)

The PPH program allows fast track examination in the US where a claim has been allowed in a corresponding application in another participating country, based on the assumption that the US examiner can leverage the review done in the other country. One useful strategy is to first or simultaneously file in a country with faster examination, then petition to fast-track the US application when a claim is allowed in the faster patent office. No additional fee is required. We are careful to choose a “quick examination” country that is not only fast, but appropriate for the technology (e.g., Australia, not Europe, for software). http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/pph/

First Office Action Interview Program

This program involves an Interview with the Examiner prior to the first office action. The examiner will conduct a prior art search and provide applicant with a condensed pre-interview communication (PIC) citing relevant prior art and identifying proposed rejections or objections. The PIC is a PCT style search report that is discussed in the interview, which is scheduled within 1-2 months. The application is limited to three Independent claims and 20 total claims. We have experienced a first action allowance rate three times the normal rate using this program. http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/faipp_full.jsp

Patentability Searches

We recommend pre-filing patentability searches . Although this increases up-front costs, we find incurring those cost to be more than justified. Anticipating what the Examiner will find allows us to focus the claims early, saving money on unrealistically broad claims and increasing the chances of obtaining meaningful protection.

Other Enhanced Prosecution Techniques

Our prosecutors use an arsenal of other techniques to obtain patents faster and with broad claims. These include Petitions to Make Special due to age or health, examiner interviews, pilot programs (e.g., after final consideration pilot program: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/afcp.jsp), and concurrently filed U.S. and PCT applications..