November 2, 2011 / Law Alert

Prioritized Examination of Patent Applications Under Leahy-Smith America Invents Act

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) was enacted on September 16, 2011. The changes implemented by this Act are wide-ranging and significant, and different provisions have different effective dates, with many taking effect September 26, 2011, September 16, 2012, or March 16, 2013. We will be providing additional information in the coming weeks and months.

One of the more immediate and interesting aspects of the AIA is the creation of a prioritized examination process which allows applicants to request accelerated examination in exchange for payment of an additional fee. While the U.S. Patent Office had proposed to implement accelerated examination earlier in 2011, that proposal was suspended due to funding limitations. Not only does the AIA now explicitly provide for prioritized examination, it also mandates that the additional fees paid for prioritized examination are automatically credited to the Patent Office’s appropriation account—thus providing the additional funding needed for implementation.

Read the full law alert: Prioritized Examination of Patent Applications Under Leahy-Smith America Invents Act