US Patent & Trademark Office Launches Pilot Program for Early Review of Cancer Immunotherapy Patent Applications
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced on June 30, 2016, that it is implementing a 12-month pilot program to provide for earlier review of patent applications relating to cancer immunotherapy. According to the Federal Register notice (link below), applications containing a claim to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy will be advanced in the examination process, out of turn, if the applicant files a grantable petition (known as a “petition to make special”) under the pilot program. The objective of the pilot program is to complete examination of the application within twelve (12) months of special status being granted. This pilot program was launched in support of the White House’s national $1 billion initiative (called the “National Cancer Moonshot”) to achieve ten years’ worth of cancer research over the next five years. This pilot program is effective as of June 29, 2016.
The Federal Register Notice announcing the pilot program is available here:
81 Fed. Reg. 42328