Pilot Program to Defer Prosecution of Non-Provisional Patent Applications

Some patent applicants file a provisional patent application to defer filing a non-provisional patent application for up to a year.  Yesterday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a new pilot program to defer prosecution (and payment of some fees) for the non-provisional patent application by up to a second year.

According to the USPTO, the

Pilot Program will benefit the USPTO and the public by adding publications to the body of prior art, and by removing from the USPTO’s workload those nonprovisional applications for which applicants later decide not to pursue examination.

Because the program prohibits filing a nonpublication request, applications cannot be kept secret.  Moreover, the program is not available for International Applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. 

To take advantage of the program, applicants will need to file a special form when they file their non-provisional patent application, and will still have to pay a basic filing fee.

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