22Sep 2015

USPTO Expedites Patent Appeals with Pilot Program By Silvia Salvadori, PhD{2:30 minutes to read} On June 15, 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented the Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot Program.

The program is designed to cut into the backlog of ex parte patent appeals by speeding up the process for applicants.

The average time for a decision to be reached on an ex parte appeal is almost two-and-a-half years right now. While the program is expected to cut this time down significantly, it is unclear exactly how long the expedited process will take per appeal.

Ex parte appeals are generally taken up by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in the order in which they are filed. The Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot Program will allow an applicant with multiple pending ex parte appeals to select any one of them for expedited review, if the following criteria is met:

  • The applicant agrees to withdraw another one of his or her pending appeals;
  • The applicant waives an oral hearing for the appeal that is selected for expedited review; and
  • Both the appeal selected for expedited status and the appeals that were not chosen had a docketing notice mailed on or before June 19, 2015.

Although no appeal-related fees will be refunded for the withdrawn appeal, the corresponding application may still be pursued by filing a Request for Continued Examination.

The Expedited Program will remain available for applicants to use until the first of these occurs:

  • 2,000 appeals have been expedited under the program; or
  • The program has been in place for 1 full year.

Once 2,000 appeals have been expedited or the program reaches the 1-year mark, its success will be reviewed and it may be altered or renewed. If nobody used this program, the USPTO might decide to cancel it or continually renew it on a temporary basis.

If you have multiple appeals pending, I urge you to take advantage of the program now to prioritize the ones that are the most important and have them expedited.


Silvia Salvadori, PhDSilvia Salvadori, PhD
(212) 897-1938