Fast-Tracking Patent Prosecution: Strategies for Swift Approvals

Navigating the USPTO’s patent prosecution process can be time-consuming, but fret not—there are strategies to expedite your application. Whether you’re about to submit a patent application or dealing with a final office action, explore the options below to speed up your patent prosecution.

1. Track One: Prioritized Examination


Track One is the USPTO’s prioritized patent examination program designed to provide a final disposition within twelve months. Starting from September 24, 2021; there is an increase in the limit for the number of prioritized examination requests accepted in a fiscal year, raised from 12,000 to 15,000.

Eligibility Criteria

Track One offers applicants the advantage of obtaining a final decision on their patent applications within about 12 months. This grants applications a special status, characterized by fewer requirements and the absence of a pre-examination search. Notably, this represents a significantly expedited timeframe compared to the standard patent examination process.

Application Types: Only utility patent applications and plant patent applications are eligible for Track One.

Excluded: Design applications are not eligible for Track One.

Utility Patents: Protect the functional elements of an article; what it does and how it works.

Plant Patents: Granted to inventors who invent or discover and asexually reproduce a distinct and new variety of plant.

Design Patents: Protect what an article looks like, its unique appearance, such as its shape, configuration, or ornamentation.


Cost: $4,200 fee ($1,680 for a small entity).

Claims: Maximum four independent claims and up to 30 claims total.

Documents: A simple one-page request form; no examination support documents needed.

Examiner Interview: Follows practices of regular applications.

With an average total pendency of just 6.2 months as of August 2023, Track One offers expedited processing with fewer requirements.

2. Accelerated Examination


Accelerated examination, essentially a subset of the petition to make special, aims for a final disposition within 12 months.


Cost: $140 petition fee ($70 for small entity).

Claims: Maximum three independent claims and up to 20 claims total; no multiple dependent claims.

Documents: Requires a pre-examination search document and an accelerated examination support document.

Examiner Interview: Mandatory before the first office action.

While not always recommended due to added costs and documentation requirements, accelerated examination can be a viable option for those seeking a quicker process.

3. Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)


The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) was introduced by the USPTO in May 2010. Although it has been in existence for quite some time, it is occasionally overlooked in certain technology sectors.

The PPH serves as a collaborative arrangement between national and regional patent offices. It allows an applicant who has obtained favorable rulings on patent claims from one participating office to seek expedited prosecution of corresponding claims in another participating office. The primary goal is to streamline the process, saving both time and costs.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for PPH, your USPTO application must:

  • Share a common earliest priority date with a related application from a partnering PPH office.
  • Have received an indication of allowability for at least one claim in the related application.
  • Have all claims sufficiently correspond to allowable claims in the related application.
  • Not have started the substantive examination.


Cost: No additional fees.

Claims: No limit.

Documents: Simple request form showing correspondence between pending U.S. claims and allowable foreign claims; no examination support documents required.

Examiner Interview: Follows practices of regular applications.

While the PPH program doesn’t aim to reach a final disposition more quickly, it has historically led to shorter pendencies. However, given the current USPTO backlog, immediate acceleration may be limited.

Conclusion: Choose Your Fast-Track

Choosing the appropriate strategy hinges on your priorities and circumstances. Whether it’s the rapid processing of Track One, meeting the specific criteria for Accelerated Examination, or opting for the international route with PPH, these approaches can facilitate quicker patent approvals.

At Legal Advantage, we comprehend your objectives and strategies. Drawing from this understanding, we advocate for a fast-track approach, particularly recommending Accelerated Examination to expedite your patent granting process. Utilizing a consultative methodology, we assist you in navigating toward your goals. With a robust Search and Illustrations team, we are well-equipped to support you in achieving expedited patent approvals.