Cassandra L. Wilkinson
Applicant's Age Can Reduce the Time it Takes to Get Their U.S. Patent Issued
As I discussed in a previous entry, nonprovisional U.S. patent applications are assigned to a Technology Center1 having the classes of inventions to which the application relates. New applications will be taken up for examination by the examiner in the order of their effective U. S. patent application filing date. As of November 2014, most U.S. patents issue in 27.2 months.2
The applicant’s age can reduce the time it normally takes to get their U.S. patent issued.
Under the consolidated patent rules, a petition to make an application special based upon age (referred to as a Petition To Make Special Based On Age3) can be filed with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which will allow the examiner to give priority to the applicant’s application over other applications.4
The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure states: “An application may be made special upon filing a petition including any evidence showing that the applicant is 65 years of age, or more.”5
The Petition To Make Special Based On Age must include either: (1) a statement by the applicant that they are the inventor in the application and that they are 65 years of age or more; or (2) a statement from a registered attorney or agent that certifies that they are in possession of evidence showing that the inventor listed in the application as the applicant is 65 years of age or more.6
In order for a registered attorney or agent to make the required statement, the applicant will need to provide the attorney or agent written proof of their age such as a birth certificate, passport, driver’s license or other document that provides legal proof of the applicant’s date of birth.
The Petition To Make Special Based On Age does not require any of the filing, processing, or publication fees normally charged by the PTO when filing a petition.7
The Petition To Make Special Based On Age can be filed either by making an electronic filing using the Web-Based Electronic Filing System or by making a paper filing via the mail (mail can be delivered by the United States Postal Service [USPS] or Non-USPS delivery services).8
After the Petition To Make Special Based On Age is filed with the PTO, the applicant will receive a notice that the petition has been granted or denied.
If the petition is granted, the application will be accorded special status by the PTO and will be taken up for action by the examiner ahead of other patent applications.
So if you are an applicant that is 65 years of age or older, be sure to consider filing a Petition To Make Special Based On Age for your U.S. patent application in order to get an earlier patent issue date.