The U. S. Patent and Trademark Office has proposed a new expedited process which would allow applicants who pay an extra fee to have their patent applications reviewed more quickly. The proposal, which could go into effect next year following a public comment period, is an effort to reduce a huge backlog of applications at the PTO. Last year it took an average of 34.6 months for a patent application to be reviewed compared to 26.7 months in 2003.
Details of the proposal have been published in a PTO press release and in the Federal Register. This essay from the Patently-O Patent Law Journal analyzes the issue. For the full article from the Wall Street Journal, click here.