Clients always ask how long will it take to obtain a patent after an application is filed? This question is an important one since a patent owner has no rights to enforce against potential infringers until a patent actually issues.
The answer to this question is that the time varies depending upon the type of patent and the technology involved. A simple design patent application is normally issued within twelve months of filing. Utility patent applications involving complicated technologies generally can take three years or more to be issued.
There are several provisions in the Patent Office Rules for shortening the application process. First, the Patent Office recently initiated a fee-based priority system. If the applicant pays an additional filing fee, the USPTO will accelerate a utility application with the goal of completing the examination process within twelve months. The filing fee currently ranges from $1,000.00 to $4,000.00 depending upon the size of the company. Second, there are several reasons that the USPTO will accelerate the examination of an application without the payment of a fee. One reason to accelerate is because of the applicant’s advanced age or poor health. Other reasons for acceleration are inventions that enhance environmental quality, contribute to the development or conservation of energy resources, or contribute to countering terrorism. These factors should be considered when deciding whether to file a patent application.
For further information, contact Art Peslak at 732-363-3333.
The Patent Guys are attorneys in the Intellectual Property Practice Group of the law firm of Gertner Mandel LLC providing legal support for legal, technical & business issues.