The US Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO) has launched a pilot program which provides fast tracked/prioritised examination for up to 500 US patent applications covering products or processes which are related to COVID-19 and subject to an applicable FDA approval.
This means that eligible applicants may be able to fast-track USPTO examination of a US non-provisional patent application for a significant cost and time saving. For example, for small entities, the usual USD2,000 official fee for fast-tracking an application is being waived. Current fast-tracked applications are typically examined within around 60-days vs around 18-months for non-fast tracked applications.
A US patent application may be used as a basis for further patent applications in other countries, if filed within certain time limits.
This follows the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) of 13 April 2020 announcing a limited window for waiving certain FDA requirements for face shields for the duration of the EUA.