Researching and developing a new idea can be a long journey, but at least it can feel like a productive one. The process of waiting for the patent process can feel more like a waiting game since most patents take one to two years until they are licensed.
Completing the application gets you the legal permission to label your product as “patent pending,” but sometimes you need to get through the patent process faster.
Here’s what you need to know about the Track One program for speeding up the patent application process.
While frustrating, it is understandable why the patent application takes so long to complete. The individuals at the patent office look at the invention in your application and compare it to other ideas that have already received a patent to ensure there is no infringement. With thousands of applications every year, it is no wonder the process can take more than two years before your idea is licensed.
For a fee, however, you can speed up the process. The U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) offers Track One so that you can move to the head of the line for the examination of your application. The expedited process takes about twelve months.
In addition to the increased price, there are limits to the number of Track One applications the USPTO will accept in a fiscal year. After the USPTO grants 10,000 requests for Track One, they will not allow any more until the next fiscal year.
Of course, if you miss the cutoff for filing a patent application under Track One, you can still follow the normal process. Keep in mind that regardless of which method you choose, you can use the words “patent pending” on your product as a warning to potential copycats that you are working on a patent for your idea.