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Need a U.S. patent and need one fast? For many technology companies, particularly small, early-stage companies, patent protection is critical and often near the top of the list of necessities for attracting investors and/or collaborators. A patent-less technology company will often find itself starving for attention in the business world, and this article highlights the programs available at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) that are designed to speed up the patent process. By taking advantage of these programs, patent applicants may capitalize on their exclusive patent rights sooner than through conventional examination, especially in areas where the technology is rapidly evolving.