The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced a pilot program directed to COVID-19 Prioritized Examination. The pilot program started on May 14, 2020 and is limited to acceptance of 500 requests for this prioritized examination. The aim of the pilot program is to provide final disposition of patent applications relating to COVID-19 in one year or less after prioritized status is accepted, without requiring payment of certain fees associated with prioritized examination. However, not every application relating to COVID-19 qualifies.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to determine if you qualify:
1. You must be a small or micro entity (e.g., independent inventor, a small business, or a nonprofit organization).
2. The claim(s) of an application must cover a product or process related to COVID-19, and such product or process must be subject to an applicable FDA approval for COVID-19 use.
Such FDA approvals may include, but are not limited to, an Investigational New Drug (IND) application, an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE), a New Drug Application (NDA), a Biologics License Application (BLA), a Premarket Approval (PMA), or an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Information on INDs, IDEs, NDAs, BLAs, PMAs, and EUAs may be obtained at www.fda.gov.
As of June 4, applications granted prioritized examination status under the COVID-19 pilot are 11 granted based on 83 filed leaving 489 available, according to the USPTO website. If Applicant does not qualify for COVID-19 Prioritized Examination, prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e) (Prioritized Examination, Track One) may be requested along with the accompanying fees. There is no requirement as to entity status and/or claimed subject matter when requesting Prioritized Examination, Track One.