by Katie Anderson
On June 15th, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that applicants registering certain COVID-19 related medical products or services can request that their application receive accelerated examination.
Applications are usually examined in the order in which they are received. 37 C.F.R § 2.146(a)(5) authorizes an applicant to petition that their application be examined sooner in “an extraordinary situation.” The USPTO is essentially stating that the pandemic falls under this exception.
According to the USPTO, “[t]o qualify for the new program, the application must cover a product that is subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19 or a medical or medical research service for the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19.”
Filing a petition for accelerated examination usually costs a fee, but the USPTO will waive the fees for qualifying applicants.
 37 C.F.R. § 2.146(a)(5).
 Press Release, United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO Announces COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Program for Certain Trademark and Service Mark Applications (June 15, 2020), https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/uspto-announces-covid-19-prioritized-examination-program-certain-trademark.