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The more complete question is: Does a “Petition to Make Special Based on Age” (65+) type of Accelerated Examination still have the same search documentation and 3/20 (3 independent, 20 total) claims limitation as other Accelerated Examinations?

What seems confusing or incomplete is, in MPEP 708.02(a) it states:

All petitions to make special, except those based on applicant’s health or age or participation in the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program must meet the requirements set forth in subsection I below.

To me this implies that maybe those restrictions don't apply for the age exception. But it is not clearly stated one way or the other. One of the more "onerous" of those requirements in that "subsection I" is:

The accelerated examination support document must include a detailed explanation of how each of the claims are patentable over the references cited with the particularity required by 37 CFR 1.111(b) and (c).

I can try getting an answer directly from USPTO but would like to know if anyone here has dealt with this issue directly.

To be more specific about the reasons for my question: I want accelerated examination. I am 65, so could qualify for the apparently cost-free petition for accelerated examination. However, my claims group is 3/24, not 3/20 and I really prefer not to pare it down. Plus I have concerns about all that extra discussion of prior art, which normally would be “inadvisable” in a standard application, from my understanding. Maybe paying the extra cost ($1,000 if micro-entity) for the Prioritized Patent Examination program would be better and worth it?

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The short answer is “no,” which is the answer I was hoping for. This was first confirmed in an answer written by a patent attorney (U.S. - CA) responding to my same question posted on quota.com. It was later confirmed to me in a phone call today with the USPTO.

So, it appears the Accelerated Examination option, when accessed based on the age or medical condition exception ($0 extra cost) is essentially equal to the Prioritized Examination program ($1,000 to $4,000 depending on entity status) – meaning equal in regard to their promise that you get a first office action within 12 months. (Whether one truly gets the same treatment is probably not something that can be determined by an outsider.)

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