"Inventors frustrated with waiting for a decision on their applications from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may soon be able to pay for expedited review under a proposal to be announced Thursday. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office chief David Kappos is proposing a new three-track system for patent applications that would allow applicants to pay an undisclosed amount on top of the standard $1,090 filing fee to jump to the front of the line for expedited reviews."
"The system will allow applicants to essentially select which innovations are the most important for patent examiners to tackle first, Mr. Kappos said. […] Last year, it took 34.6 months on average for patent applications to be reviewed compared to 26.7 months in 2003."
"Companies could pay extra to fast-track their applications and have examiners complete patent reviews in about a year. Officials haven't decided how much expedited processing would cost. The middle track would be similar to the system used now, which includes a $755 fee when a patent is issued and periodic fees to keep the patent in effect. The slowest track would allow companies and inventors to pay a smaller fee and essentially park their applications for up to 30 months before the patent review begins. That might help inventors who haven't perfected their applications yet or who aren't sure if there's a market for their innovations, the office said."
Source: Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704515704575282951991894276.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5