Extension of the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented a pilot program (Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program) in which an applicant, under certain conditions, can request a 12-month time period to pay the search fee, the examination fee, any excess claim fees, and the surcharge (for the late submission of the search fee and the examination fee) in a nonprovisional application. The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program benefits applicants by permitting additional time to determine if patent protection should be soughtat a relatively low costand by permitting applicants to focus efforts on commercialization during this period. The Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program benefits the USPTO and the public by adding publications to the body of prior art, and by removing from the USPTO's workload those nonprovisional applications for which applicants later decide not to pursue examination. While the USPTO has not yet completed its evaluation of the program, the number of participants in the program over the past several years indicates that there may be sufficient benefits to the patent community. Thus, the USPTO is extending the Extended Missing Parts Pilot Program until January 2, 2018, to allow the USPTO to continue its evaluation of the pilot program. The requirements of the program have not changed.