The USPTO held a roundtable discussion this week in Washington to discuss a proposed “Three-Track” approach to patent applications.  Currently, the USPTO takes all of its applications and filters it through a “one-size-fits-all” process.   The new measure is meant to allow for more control over the speed at which applications are processed, increase efficiency and decrease waiting times on pending patent applications.  Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos stated that “by allowing applicants greater control over the timing of examination, the USPTO will be able to deploy its resources to better meet the needs of innovators.”

The new approach creates three routes of application.  The first track allows for prioritized application with additional fees.  The second track allows for the traditional approach while the third track allows a 30 month delay in docketing for examination  for non-continuing applications.  In addition to the three tracks, applications from foreign patent offices would be changed as well.

The Department of Commerce is asking for written comments to be submitted on the new plan by August 20, 2010.