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U.S. Patent Office Allows Semiconductor Patents to be Examined Faster...With a Catch

Under this pilot program, qualifying applications involving technologies directed to certain processes or apparatuses for manufacturing semiconductor devices will be advanced out of turn for examination (granted special status) until a first Office action is issued. An Office action is a patent examiner’s written notice of findings for the patent application.

BUT…there is a catch…actually several…

First, the USPTO will accept petitions to make special under this program until December 2, 2024, or the date when a total of 1,000 applications have been granted special status under this program, whichever occurs earlier. Many thousands of semiconductor patents are filed every year. The limit of 1,000 will be hit quickly.

Second, the inventor or any joint inventor has not been named as the inventor or a joint inventor on more than four other nonprovisional applications in which a petition to make special under this pilot program has been filed.  

Third, the invention must “improve the manufacturing of semiconductor devices.” New inventions for semiconductor DEVICES do not qualify, only manufacturing processes.


The Semiconductor Technology Pilot Program is designed to support the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2022 by expediting the examination of patent applications for innovations that increase semiconductor device production, reduce semiconductor manufacturing costs, and strengthen the semiconductor supply chain.


manufacturing, innovative technology