If you’ve just finished working on a design, you probably want to patent it. Patenting a design in the United States takes 20.5 months from the date an applicant files a design patent application with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). However, the USPTO offers an expedited service to inventors that allows them to patent their designs quicker. This expedited service is known as Rocket Docket.

What is Rocket Docket?

Rocket Docket allows design patent applicants to request an expedited review of their design patent application. Some inventors have patented their designs using rocket dock in under six months. They have been able to do so because if a request for expedited review is granted, an inventor’s patent application is expedited and is given priority to other design patent applications.

That said, to qualify for expedited examination of a design patent application, there are some requirements that must be met. An applicant must:

  • Make a request for expedited examination to the USPTO
  • Pay the basic filing fees for a design patent application
  • Pay the fee for the expedited examination
  • Prepare a complete design patent application that is free of any errors
  • The application must include black and white drawings of the design he wants to patent
  • Have conducted a preexamination search
  • Prepare and include a statement that the preexamination search was conducted
  • Include a statement as to the field of the search must be included
  • Include an information disclosure statement must also be included

Can you Expedite the Review of Your Design Patent Application?

Yes, you can expedite the review of your design patent application. However, to qualify for expedited review of your application, you must satisfy the requirements we listed above, as well as filing a request for expedited examination, along with additional fees for the service to expedite the processing of your design application. So, how do you get your design patent application expedited? Read below to find out.

How Do You Request Expedited Design Patent Application Review?

An applicant for a design patent who wants to expedite the review of his design patent application can do so by filing a design patent application along with a request for expedited design patent application review. If you’re filing your design patent application online, you can submit your design patent application along with a “Request for Expedited Processing, Design Rocket Docket.”

That said, if you’ve already filed a design patent application and you want to expedite it after the filing of your patent application, you can do so by making an online request for expedited examination. If the patent office grants your request for expedited examination, your design patent application will be expedited throughout all steps of the process.

The patent office recommends that if you know that you want to expedite your patent application, you should file both the design patent application and request for expedited examination together to expedite the process. Filing them separately may cause some delays.

Applicants who request expedited examination will receive a confirmation from the patent office indicating that the examination process has been expedited.

How Much Does Rocket Docket Cost?

According to the USPTO, requesting expedited examination of a design patent application via Rocket Docket costs $225 for micro-entities, $450 for small entities, and $900 for large entities. This expedited examination fee is charged in addition to the normal filing fee for design patent applications.

The fee for expedited design patent application processing must be sent along with the request for expedited examination. If an applicant fails to send in the fee for expedited examination, the patent office will send you a notice of deficiency, if you don’t respond to the notice, your design patent application will not be expedited and will be processed normally.

How Much Time Does It Take to Get a Patent With Expedited Examination?

According to applicants that we interviewed, it takes 4 months to 6 months to get a design patent application approved using expedited examination with rocket docket. Without using expedited examination for a design patent application, it typically takes the patent office 21 months to either approve or deny a design patent application.

Using rocket docket prioritized examination reduces the amount of time it takes the patent office to approve a design patent application by 75%. Applicants who have used rocket docket expedited patent examination have reported receiving their first office action within 1 month of filing their design patent application.

Application Completeness for Expedited Review

For an applicant to qualify for an expedited review of his patent application, the applicant must have not made any mistakes in preparing the patent application and patent drawings. The applicant must have included the proper filing fees and expedited review fees. The application must be 100% complete and free of any errors for it to be ready for review and examination by a patent examiner.

If a design patent application is complete but fails to comply with the requirements for expedited review, the patent office will notify the applicant of the deficiency and will give the applicant an opportunity to address and fix the deficiency.

Once an applicant fixes the deficiency, he must submit a renew request for expedited examination. If an applicant does not address any deficiencies with the request for expedited examination, the design patent will not be expedited and will continue through the patent process as would a regularly filed design patent application.

Rocket Docket Pre-examination Search

To expedite a design patent application using rocket docket, an applicant must conduct a pre-examination search to assist the patent office with their prior art search. The preexamination search must be thorough and complete. If the patent examiner suspects that you have not conducted a thorough search, he might reject your request for expedited review.

So, it’s important that you conduct a professional prior art search for the design you’re trying to expedite. Make sure to do as thorough a search as possible because if the design patent is litigated, you may have to answer questions about the search that you performed.

Benefits of Rocket Docket For Design Patents

Today, more than ever, bad actors around the world are copying the designs of others and selling them as originals. So, to combat this infringement, rocket docket expedited examination, allows inventors of new designs to quickly patent their designs to enforce their patent rights against bad actors who copy and profit from their original designs.

Design patents only allow inventors to enforce their rights once the patent office grants their design patent application. Prior to the patent office granting a design patent application, an inventor cannot stop others from copying, making, and selling his design.

However, once the patent office grants an inventor’s design patent application, a patent holder will be able to enforce his right to stop others from using, making, selling, and importing his patented design to the United States.

The patent office is not responsible for looking for infringers and stopping them. It is the patent holder’s duty to find those infringing upon his patent and asking them to cease the infringing activity.

If they do not respond to a patent holder’s request to stop using, making, or selling his patented design, the patent holder can bring a lawsuit for patent infringement against the bad actor.

If the patent holder is successful in his lawsuit against someone copying and selling an article bearing his design, he will be able to obtain an injunction to stop them from engaging in activities that infringe upon his patent.

Also, in some circumstances, patent holders may recover monetary damages caused by the infringer using the patent holder’s design without his permission.

Rocket Docket Expedited Design Patent Examination

If you have a design that you want to patent but don’t want to wait 20+ months for the patent office to approve your design patent application, you can make a request to the patent office for expedited processing of your patent application.

Under expedited processing, applicants have reported having their design patent applications approved within 4 to 6 months of filing their design patent applications. It currently costs between $225 and $450 for inventors to expedite the review of their design patent applications. The fee is reasonable considering the time savings associated with expediting your application.

For some inventors, obtaining a design patent quickly is very important because it enables them to stop others from copying and selling the patented design without their permission. That said, if you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.