The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a collaborative deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program for inventions that combat COVID-19.
The USPTO recognizes that its mission to issue high-quality patents to inventors goes hand-in-hand with dissemination of important scientific information to the public to promote further innovation. This information flow is now more important than ever in view of the urgent challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the pilot program, applicants may defer payment of the provisional application filing fee until the filing of a corresponding, non-provisional application. To foster dissemination and collaboration, they must agree that the technical subject matter disclosed in their provisional applications will be available to the public on the USPTO’s website. By making their disclosures available, applicants can contribute to the public in the fight against COVID-19 while protecting their patent rights.
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 require 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.
The program is scheduled to accept applications for 12 months beginning on September 17, 2020.
The Federal Register notice can be found here.