The USPTO’s Track One program is for applicants who want a patent as quickly as possible. Known officially as the “Prioritized Patent Examination Program,” the USPTO promises a final disposition within 12 months for applicants who participate in the program and who pay the $4,000 fee for the privilege. To be eligible for participation in the program, an application can have no more than four independent claims and 30 dependent claims and no multiple dependent claims. In previous studies, we have found that the Track One program does indeed significantly shorten an application’s prosecution timeline, as well as deliver several other benefits, such as higher allowance rates and fewer office actions.
For our latest Track One study, we wanted to look a little deeper at the data from our October 2016 article, as featured on IPWatchdog. In this study, we found the art unit groups where Track One applications have the shortest prosecution timelines. The average time to disposition for all Track One applications is 12.61 months, but is much shorter in these art unit groups. For comparison, the overall USPTO speed to disposition average is 36.08 months. One could say that the speed to disposition in these art unit groups is “the shortest of the short,” due to all application in the Track One program already being on a short prosecution timeline.
Below are the 10 art unit groups with the fastest time to disposition for applications granted a Track One status. We measure time to disposition by counting the number of months between an application's filing date and the date that it is either allowed or abandoned. In order to be eligible for inclusion in the study, each art unit group must have had at least 100 applications disposed.
10. 3651-3659: Material and Article Handling (9.24 months)
9. 2656: Digital Audio Data Processing Image Analysis (9.12 months)
8. 2631-2634: Digital Communications (9.03 months)
7. 2811-2829 / 2891-2899: Semiconductors and Memory (8.84 months)
6. 2651-2653: Videophones and Telephonic Communications (8.83 months)
5. 2112-2118: Computer Architecture (8.73 months)
4. 2851-2868: Printing, Measuring, and Testing (8.67 months)
3. 2665-2669: Image Analysis; Applications; Pattern Recognition; Color and Compression; Enhancement and Transformation (8.56 months)
2. 3611-3618: Surface Transportation (8.48 months)
1. 2661-2664: Digital Cameras (8.33 months)
Although many practitioners think that examiners behave the same way across art units and that prosecution is basically standard across the USPTO, that assumption could not be further from the truth. Every examiner behaves differently, and prosecution in one art unit can be radically different from prosecution in another art unit, even if they cover the same technology. Juristat's Examiner Reports and Art Unit Reports help smooth out this varied landscape by letting prosecutors know what they are getting into right from the start, as well as guiding them through prosecution with data-backed insights. Sign up today and see what Juristat can show you.
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