Starting July 2, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is offering a Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program that appears to be a very cost effective way to expedite an appeal of a final rejection of a US patent application.
According to the USPTO, the program was implemented to encourage new inventions, incite job creation, and promote economic growth. The Pilot Program allows applicants to expedite ex parte appeals pending before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Any applicant who filed an ex parte appeal and received a PTAB docketing notice may petition to expedite the review of the appeal. The petition fee to expedite is $400. Within one month of submitting the petition, the applicant will be notified if it is accepted for fast-track status. Fast-Track ex parte appeals will be decided within six months from the date a petition is granted. Without the Pilot Program, current appeal pendency is averaging about 15 months. The Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program is limited to a maximum of 125 petitions per quarter and 500 in a year. The USPTO is offering the Pilot Program on a temporary basis for one year, but the program may be extended.