USPTO Patent Prosecution Highway
The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is transforming how to fast-track US patent applications.

The PPH is open to PCT applicants. An applicant receiving a written opinion or an international preliminary examination report from the patent offices in Austria, the EPO, Japan, Korea, Russia, Spain or the US that indicates at least one claim in a PCT application has novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability may request that the USPTO fast track the examination of an application with corresponding claims.

Even if a PCT application claims priority to a US provisional application, if the applicant has received positive PCT work product from one of these patent offices, a PCT-PPH request can be filed in (i) a US non-provisional application that claims domestic benefit to the US provisional application, (ii) a US national stage entry of the PCT application, or (iii) a 111(a) bypass of the PCT application (US non-provisional application).

You can also qualify for fast-tracking if you file initially in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, the EPO, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain or the UK, and receive a ruling that at least one claim is patentable.

Once the PPH request is filed, it is usually decided within 2 months. If granted, the examiner will generally examine the application within 3 months. The acceptance of the PPH request makes the application special and advanced out of turn for examination.

Although PPH is not full faith and credit, the PPH applications, on average, take significantly less time and have fewer office actions. Plus, the overall allowance rate for PPH applications is about double the overall allowance rate for non-PPH applications.

The USPTO does not currently charge for a PPH request.