During the address, Director Kappos announced a new initiative that is specifically designed to accelerate the patent process for independent inventors. He called it a “backlog reduction pilot project” that will be made available only to small and medium-sized entities and will give them the opportunity to receive special, accelerated status for a new application if they abandon a pending, unexamined application.
The program is designed to allow independent inventors and innovators to advance an application in the queue by swapping out one they are willing to abandon. According to Kappos, independent inventors are in a better position to help prioritize the PTO’s workload and he wants them to tell the PTO what matters most to them. Kappos said this gives inventors the option to accelerate protection for their innovation while also reducing the overall backlog of unexamined patent applications.
The USPTO provided few other details last week, promising to put the start date and other information on its web site and in the Federal Register in the coming weeks.