In line with President Obama’s recent call for a “Cancer Moonshot” (a US$1 billion initiative to achieve 10 years’ worth of cancer research in the next 5 years) the USPTO announced its “Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program” to accelerate examination of patent applications relating to cancer immunotherapy. The USPTO aims to complete patent examination for cancer immunotherapy applications under this program in 12 months or less.
In good news for Australian immunotherapy scientists, the program is open to both U.S. and international applicants and involves no additional fee.
The requirements for a patent application to enter this pilot scheme include the following:
- Application must have at least one claim directed to a method of treating cancer using immunotherapy
- No more than three independent claims
- No more than 20 claims in total
- No multiple dependent claims, and
- If the Examiner issues a restriction requirement, the Applicant must make a telephone election without traverse to the immunotherapy claims.
Note that if an extension of time is requested, the application will no longer be considered under the pilot program.