The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued a Notice today extending the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program (Pilot Program), also known as “Patents 4 Patients.” The Pilot Program, which accelerates the examination of patent applications directed to cancer immunotherapy methods, will now expire on December 31, 2018, absent further extension.
The PTO implemented the Pilot Program a year ago as part of the National Cancer Moonshot initiative. That initiative seeks to transform cancer research and care by substantially accelerating efforts to combat cancer over the next five years. Because the patent system is a driver of innovation, the program aims to advance cancer treatments so that they may reach patients faster. Specifically, the Pilot Program seeks to achieve allowance of meritorious patents within 12 months from filing a petition under the program.