How Much Time Do I Have to File a Patent Application Once I Begin?

A patent is a legal protection of your invention. The purpose is to exclude others from using, making, selling or importing the invention throughout the US. However, there is a process and a number of steps that must be followed. You may find yourself asking, “How much time do I have to file a patent application?”

What is a Patent?

A patent is a legal protection of your invention. It is a property right that is granted to an inventor by the Government of the United States of America. The purpose is to exclude others from using, making, selling or importing the invention throughout and within the United States. The public disclosure of the invention is enabled once the patent is granted. A patent can be applied for only in the name/names of the actual inventor/inventors.

A patent can be of three basic types namely, utility patent, design patent and plant patent. Utility patents are granted to those who invent or discover a new process, machine or a useful improvement. Design patents are granted to inventors of a new, original or ornamental design of a manufactured product. Plant patents are applicable in the instances of the invention or discovery of a new or distinct variety of plant. By far, most patents filed for in the US Patent Office (USPTO) are utility patents in nature.

So, you may be asking “How much time do I have to file a patent application?” Let us look into the details now.

The Patent Application Procedure and Estimated Time

If you are wondering about how to get a patent in the quickest possible time and a trusted way, you have to take note of and go through the following steps:

-The first thing is the patentability search that is conducted by a law firm and it takes about 1-3 weeks to complete.

-This is followed by the patent application drafting process, which starts once all the information about your invention has been submitted and it takes about 2-4 weeks.

Now, this timeline varies depending upon certain factors like the complexity of the invention, the type and volume of information provided by the inventor, the number of changes that are required to be incorporated in the process of drafting and so on. Once the patent is filed, it comes under the patent pending section in the USPTO.

Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent Applications

The granting of the patent is subject to a thorough patent review process and the time depends on whether you go for a provisional or a non-provisional patent application. The present average wait time for a non-provisional patent application ranges between 32 months to 3 years. This period includes the time taken for your non-provisional patent application, standing in a queue, to be examined by a Patent Examiner.

The procedure involving the examination of your patent application and considering it allowable will vary depending on your technical area of invention. The USTPO actually groups the patent applications based on the technology used in the invention and assigns it to definite technology groups. These technology groups are referred to as art units.

Now, if the art unit, in which your patent application has been placed, already has a pretty long queue of patent applications, the time required will be more and vice versa. This time frame will ultimately determine the issuance time of your patent too.

The provisional patent application, on the other hand, works in a different way than the non-provisional one. In this, the patent office will not put your application in the queue to be examined. Instead, a non-provisional patent application must be filed within one year of the filing date of the provisional application, in order to claim the benefit of the provisional application filing date.

So, all you need to do is file a non-provisional patent application and then file a provisional on the one-year anniversary date of the filing of the non-provisional, one additional year will be added to the times listed above. This is relevant and justified because you have already waited for 1 year to have the non-provisional application placed in a queue to be examined.
While this is the basic process of filing for a patent, you might have specific questions like how long does it take to patent an idea and so on. For all this, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified patent attorney at Paul & Paul. You can get in touch with them at 866-975-7231.


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