Deferred-Fee Provisional Patent Application Pilot Program and Collaboration Database To Encourage Inventions Related To COVID-19
Patents and published patent applications provide a key source of free-flowing technical information among the world's brightest minds, thus promoting further innovation. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) recognizes that its charge to issue high-quality patents to inventors goes hand-in-hand with dissemination of this important information. Such information flow is now more important than ever in view of the urgent challenges posed by COVID-19. Therefore, the USPTO is implementing a deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program (the program) to promote the expedited exchange of information about inventions designed to combat COVID-19. Under this program, the USPTO will permit applicants to defer payment of the provisional application filing fee until the filing of a corresponding nonprovisional application. In turn, applicants must agree that the technical subject matter disclosed in their provisional applications will be made available to the public via a searchable collaboration database maintained on the USPTO's website. To qualify for the program, the subject matter disclosed in the provisional application must concern a product or process related to COVID-19, and such product or process must be subject to an applicable Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for COVID-19 use, whether such approval has been obtained, is pending, or will be sought prior to marketing the subject matter for COVID-19.