On June 3, 2010, the Patent Office issued a press release touting an initiative to reduce patent pendency by allowing patent applicants to pick the speed at which their applications are examined. Patent pendency has been an increasing problem in the Patent Office, jumping to 34.6 months last year from 26.7 months in 2003. The proposal has two main prongs: first, provide three paths to patent examination, and second, rely more heavily on foreign patent office efforts. While the press release provides some preliminary details about the proposal, further information is expected to be published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2010. This essay focuses on the first prong, a multi-tiered patent examination system.
Kristen Osenga, The PTOs Fast Track Takes Us in the Wrong Direction, 2010 Patently-O Patent L.J. 89, originally published at http://patentlyo.com/media/docs/2010/06/osenga.pdf