知財コラム

6) Prioritized Examination

以前からアメリカには日本と同様に早期審査制度(petition to make special)がありますが、これを利用するためには陳述書の提出や先行技術調査を行う必要がありました。

今回の改正では、所定の手数料($4,800、small entityはその半額)を支払うだけで審査期間を短縮してくれるprioritized examination制度が設けられました。

ただし、このprioritized examinationが認められる枠が年間10,000件となっており、クレームの数も独立クレーム4つ、合計で30までに制限されています(AIA §11(h)(1)(B))。

この改正事項は、2011年9月26日以降に提出される出願に適用されます。

AIA §11(h) PRIORITIZED EXAMINATION FEE.
(1) IN GENERAL.
(A) FEE.
(i) PRIORITIZED EXAMINATION FEE. A fee of $4,800 shall be established for filing a request, pursuant to
section 2(b)(2)(G) of title 35, United States Code, for prioritized examination of a nonprovisional application
for an original utility or plant patent.
(ii) ADDITIONAL FEES. In addition to the prioritized examination fee under clause (i), the fees due on an application for which prioritized examination is being sought are the filing, search, and examination fees (including any applicable excess claims and application size fees), processing fee, and publication fee for that application.
(B) REGULATIONS; LIMITATIONS.
(i) REGULATIONS. The Director may by regulation prescribe conditions for acceptance of a request under subparagraph (A) and a limit on the number of filings for prioritized examination that may be accepted.
(ii) LIMITATION ON CLAIMS. Until regulations are prescribed under clause (i), no application for which prioritized examination is requested may contain or be amended to contain more than 4 independent claims or more than 30 total claims.
(iii) LIMITATION ON TOTAL NUMBER OF REQUESTS. The Director may not accept in any fiscal year more than 10,000 requests for prioritization until regulations are prescribed under this subparagraph setting another limit.
(2) REDUCTION IN FEES FOR SMALL ENTITIES. The Director shall reduce fees for providing prioritized examination of nonprovisional
applications for original utility and plant patents by 50 percent for small entities that qualify for reduced fees under section 41(h)(1) of title 35, United States Code.

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