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Who's the Biggest Player in the Patent Fast-Track Game? Google

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 28, 2014 1:03 PM

Last year, we blogged about the new "fast track" (Track One Prioritized Examination) system for patent applications. The idea is simple: Pay more upfront, do less work, and get your patent faster.

By many accounts, the new fast track was definitely faster than older expedited methods (an average of 184 days from filing to allowance), and was cheaper too -- research published on the Patently-O blog said that despite the higher upfront cost, fast-tracked patents would actually save money in the long run.

Who's hopped on to the fast-track train since then? No surprise that it's a tech company -- namely, Google.

Google Is Impatient

How much has Google ridden the fast-track train? To date, 14 percent of patents processed via the Track One system belong to the tech giant, reports Inside Counsel. Out of 6,187 patents processed by Track One, Google holds the lead, by far, with 875 patents covering everything from cloud printing to smartwatches.

The next most active company? That'd be Huawei, with 147 patents. Surprisingly, the other tech titans are nowhere to be found on the list, though Research in Motion (BlackBerry) somehow found a need to file for 32 patents, despite barely being a viable company.

But Why?

It's simple: speed. Last year, we reviewed the various options for speeding up the patent process, such as Accelerated Examination (like Track One, but it requires more prep work and a lesser fee), the Patent Prosecution Highway (piggybacking on other countries' favorable patent rulings) and the petition to make special (for people who are old or dying).

Here's how long it took, on average, to get a patent via each of these options, per Patently-O:

  • Track One applicants: 184 days;
  • Accelerated Examination: 317 days;
  • Patent Prosecution Highway: 565 days; and
  • Elderly and ill applicants: 806 days.

Looking at those figures, you have to feel bad for the old and dying folks. You also have to wonder why more tech companies haven't joined Google and Huawei on the fast-track train.

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