As every patent applicant knows, some inventions are worth more than others. Some applications should lead to granted patents as quickly as possible, while with others, the applicant is quite happy that they linger in limbo.
The USPTO offers an interesting deal to applicants with more than one application: give one application up in exchange for expedited examination of another application. This program has been available for a while, but the USPTO announced on 17 May that it will now be open to all applicants:
Under the expanded Project Exchange, which will take effect with the publication of the Federal Register notice in the coming weeks, any applicant with more than one application, filed prior to the inception of the program, currently pending at the USPTO can receive expedited review of one application in exchange for withdrawing an unexamined application. The expanded Project Exchange will give all applicants with multiple filings greater control over the priority in which their applications are examined and enable priority applications to be examined on an expedited basis. By providing incentives for applicants to withdraw unexamined applications that may no longer be important to them, Project Exchange is expected to appreciably reduce the backlog of unexamined patent applications pending before the USPTO.
The expanded Project Exchange will be limited to 15 applications per entity through December 31, 2010.
What do you think of the idea? Is this going to reduce the backlog of unexamined patent applications substantially?