The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) introduced a new program for first-time patent filers on March 9, 2023. Through the program, qualifying applicants can file a petition to expedite the examination of their patent applications so that the applications have the potential to be granted sooner than a typical patent application.

The program is open to applicants who have not been named as an inventor on any earlier filed non-provisional applications. The applicants must also qualify for micro-entity status, which generally means that the applicants must have a gross income below a certain threshold. The current threshold is $212,352.00, which is three times the median household income in the United States.

The application must be a new non-provisional patent application. It cannot be a continuation application, a continuation-in-part application, a divisional application or a bypass application. Further, it cannot be an application that claims priority to a foreign application or a U.S. national stage application that claims the benefit to a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application.

The USPTO will keep the program open until March 11, 2024 or until it grants special status to 1,000 patent applications under the program, whichever occurs earlier. The program is intended to benefit those in historically underserved geographic and economic areas.

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