On June 15, 2015, the USPTO announced a temporary “Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot” in which an appellant may have an ex parte appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) advanced out of turn and accorded special status, if the appellant agrees to withdraw an appeal in another application.  The Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot will permit an appellant having multiple appeals pending before the Board to accelerate the Board’s decision on an appeal involving an invention of greater importance to the appellant.

To qualify for the pilot, appellant must agree to withdraw an ex parte appeal in another application or an appeal in an ex parte reexamination.  There is no fee for the pilot program.  However, appellant must agree not to request any refund of previously paid appeal fees in the application or reexamination for which the appeal will be withdrawn.

The effective date of the Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot is June 19, 2015.  It will run until 2,000 appeals have been accorded special status, or until June 20, 2016, whichever occurs first. 

The Federal Register announcement is available here: 

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-06-15/pdf/2015-14754.pdf