USPTO Introduces Fast-Track Appeals Pilot ProgramJuly 1, 2020

On Thursday, July 2, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will begin to accept petitions for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The petitions will cost $400 and will be made possible under a program known as the “Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program”. Petition grants for fast-track review of ex parte appeals will initially be limited to a maximum of 500 per fiscal year, or 125 per quarter, for the program’s duration. In order to keep appeals on schedule, oral hearings under the program will be expedited and, once scheduled, will not be rescheduled or relocated.

Andrei Iancu, Director of the USPTO, states: “The Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program serves as an extension of the Track One prioritized examination program, which has proven to be very popular with our nation’s innovators. … For the first time in USPTO history, applicants will be able to speed up both patent examination and ex parte appeals, thus obtaining decisions on their most important inventions in about half the time of a typical application.” As a result, the USPTO aims to resolve ex parte appeals reviewed under the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program within six months from the date a petition is granted. 

A petition under 37 CFR 41.3 must be filed in the application involved in the ex parte appeal for which fast-track status is sought and must identify that application and appeal by application number and appeal number, respectively. The appeal for which fast-track status is sought must be an appeal for which a notice of appeal has been filed under 37 CFR 41.31 and an appeal docketing notice has been mailed by the PTAB. The USPTO has created a form-fillable Portable Document Format (PDF) “Petition— Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program” (Form PTO/SB/451) for use in filing a certification and petition under 37 CFR 41.3 for the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program. For more information, please see Federal Register Docket No. PTO-P-2020-0027.

Please consult an MVS attorney should you have questions on patent appeals or anything else related to patents and other intellectual property. 

Gregory “Lars” Gunnerson is a Patent Attorney in the Mechanical and Electrical  Patent Practice Groups at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit or contact Lars directly via email at .

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