On December 1, 2008, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent out 10,000 notices to parties whose pending patent applications are eligible to participate in Peer to Patent. Just as a reminder, an application is eligible if it:
- falls into one of the following U.S. classes: 380, 700, 704, 705, 706, 707, 708, 709, 710, 711, 712, 713, 715, 715, 717, 718, 719, or 726; and
- it has either not published at the time the USPTO receives the consent form or published no more than 30 days prior to the date the USPTO receives the consent form.
Applicants are advised to submit the consent as early as possible. Upon the earlier of publication or the timely receipt and acceptance by the USPTO of the consent, the eligible application will enter the Peer to Patent program.
The consent form is issued by the USPTO and can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/peerpriorartpilot/consent.pdf
Applications that enter the Peer to Patent program, at the conclusion of the four-month peer review period, are advanced to the head of the queue for first office actions. For example, a participating application publishes, enters the program for four months, and receives a first office action within approximately two-three months following the conclusion of the peer review. On average participating applications cut a year or more from the time to first office action.
Parties interested in submitting their applications to Peer to Patent can further reduce the time to first office action by requesting early publication of the application. To obtain early publication, simply state that you wish the specified application to publish early in a signed request and submit it at the same time you submit the above consent form. Early publication typically occurs within 12-14 weeks of receipt of the request.
If you elected non-publication at the time of filing your patent application because you were not filing foreign counterparts and wished to maintain the confidential nature of your filing, you can reverse that decision and have your application participate in Peer to Patent by filing a request to rescind the previously-filed nonpublication request and including it with your consent form.