The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is implementing a pilot program to provide for earlier review of patent applications pertaining to cancer immunotherapy (“Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program” or “Pilot Program”) in support of the White House national $1 billion initiative to achieve ten years' worth of cancer research in the next five years (“National Cancer Moonshot”). The USPTO will advance applications containing a claim(s) to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy out of turn for examination if the applicant files a grantable petition to make special under the Pilot Program. The objective of the Pilot Program is to complete the examination of the application within twelve months of special status being granted. Under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, an application will be advanced out of turn for examination without meeting all of the current requirements of the accelerated examination program (e.g., the requirement for an examination support document) or the Prioritized Examination (Track I) program. This notice outlines the conditions, eligibility requirements, and guidelines of the Pilot Program.
The Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program will run for twelve months from its effective date. Therefore, petitions to make special under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program must be filed before June 29, 2017. The USPTO may extend the Pilot Program (with or without modifications) or terminate it depending on the workload and resources needed to administer the Pilot Program, feedback from the public, and the effectiveness of the Pilot Program. If the Pilot Program is extended or terminated, the USPTO will provide notification to the public.