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USPTO’s First-Time Filer Expedited Examination Pilot Program

March 27, 2023

By: Alice O. Carroll and Christine M. Wise

On March 9, 2023, the USPTO launched a pilot program for first-time filers of U.S. patent applications. The pilot program will provide an expedited first Office Action which includes an Examiner’s position on patentability, and an opportunity for the inventor/applicant to respond to the Office Action. This expedited examination process is intended to lead to the granting of patents much earlier in the process and will allow inventors and small businesses to make key business decisions at an earlier stage.

The program requires that the inventor (or each inventor in the case of joint inventors) certify that the inventor qualifies for micro entity status, has not been listed as an inventor on any other U.S. non-provisional application, and is reasonably trained on the basics of the USPTO’s patent application process. The expedited examination fee is waived under this program.

The impetus for this program was a 2018 USPTO survey of U.S. granted patents, which revealed that women and minorities were underrepresented as inventors. In view of the survey’s findings, the Council for Inclusive Innovation helped the USPTO develop a national strategy for increasing the involvement of women and minorities as inventors, entrepreneurs and innovation leaders. However, the first-time filer pilot program is open to any qualifying inventor.

Further information can be found at the pilot program web page

Additional information about the Council for Inclusive Innovation can be found at their web page

If you have any questions or would like further information about the USPTO’s First-Time Filer Expedited Examination Pilot Program, please contact us.