USPTO Announces Updates to Accelerated Examination Program

On August 16, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a Federal Register notice announcing updates to the accelerated examination program. This program permits an application to be advanced out of turn if the applicant files a grantable petition under the program. The program began in 2006, but updates are necessary due to changes in the law and examination practice, including the America Invents Act (AIA), the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act (PLTIA), and the USPTO's adoption of the Cooperative Patent Classification System (CPC). The notice also mentions plans to publish a future Federal Register notice for public comments on whether the program should be retained, given the low number of applicants using the accelerated examination program.