WASHINGTON — The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program.

Under this new pilot program, the USPTO will grant requests for prioritized examination to patent applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status without payment of the typical fees associated with other prioritized examination. In addition, the USPTO will endeavor to reach final disposition of applications in this program within six months if applicants respond promptly to communications from the USPTO.

“Independent inventors and small businesses are often the difference makers when it comes to cutting-edge innovation and the growth of our economy,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “They are also in most need of assistance as we fight this pandemic. Accelerating examination of COVID-19-related patent applications, without additional fees, will permit such innovators to bring important and possibly life-saving treatments to market more quickly.”

To qualify for the new program, the claims of an application must cover a product or process that is subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19. See the Federal Register Notice for more information.

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