Many entrepreneurs think the process of obtaining a patent is long and tedious. How long it takes to get a patent depends on several factors. While getting a patent could be complicated, it can be made much simpler when you work with an experienced attorney who specializes in patent law. No matter what kind of business you have or what your product, concept, or invention, it is imperative to legally protect your ideas from the very beginning during the concept phase. A new, useful, and non-obvious method or apparatus can be covered by a utility patent – from medical equipment and structural tools to consumer products. In truth, you can never have too many patents!
As for how long it takes to get a patent, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) estimates that a successful patent process spans about 22-25 months. If that is worrisome, we have good news: TBillick Law PLLC can help you through every step of the patent application process for all of your creations to keep things seamless, straightforward, and uncomplicated. My goal is to take care of the legal side of things so you can focus your energy on the research, development, and marketability of your invention.
What Factors Affect the Length of a Patent Application Process?
There are several factors that may impact how long it takes to obtain a patent. These include the type of patent you file, jurisdiction of filing, the industry or specialization of technology, and the complexity of the invention. The International Patent Classification identifies eight fields of technology into to which patents may be attributed: construction, human necessities, chemistry and metallurgy, textiles, engineering, physics, electricity, and transportation. The field into which your patent falls also impacts how long it takes to get approved.
Important note: Keep in mind that the USPTO will not place your application in the examination line if you file a provisional patent instead of a regular utility patent. Therefore, if time is of the essence, I advise my clients to file non-provisional patent applications to ensure that they mature into patents as quickly as possible.
When Should I File for a Patent?
The best time to file for a patent is as soon as you come up with your concept and you’re able to describe it entirely. Though a prototype is helpful, it is not necessary. Another time to file for a patent is when you are ready to share your invention with the world. This is especially true in the U.S., given that we are a “first-to-file” country (like most other countries), which makes it disadvantageous to wait too long before filing for your patent. If you’re not familiar with the application process, you should hire an experienced licensed patent attorney. to help guide you through it.
What Are Track One Patents?
If you have extra funds to spend. You can expedite the application process by utilizing “Track One.” If you are on Track One, your application will be prioritized. In the best-case scenario, you could receive your patent within six to twelve months of filing the application. This privilege is only available to plant and utility patent applications and comes at a higher fee (about $1,000 for micro-entities, $2,000 for small entities, and $4,000 for non-small entities). The Track One route only allows for 10,000 applicants every fiscal year. To be clear, despite being prioritized, some Track One patents will still take longer to approve than others.
Why Is My Patent Application Taking So Long?
There are over 600,000 patent applications filed annually in the U.S., meaning it takes a long time for the USPTO to review every application.[i] This number covers utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Out of all the patents filed in the U.S., how many get approved? Only about 52% of the patents filed in the U.S. get approved. Nonprovisional patents get reviewed by a Patent Examiner. The average review time is 21 months and the average wait time to receive an approved patent is a total of 32 months. Your patent application could take a longer or shorter amount of time depending on the technical invention group into which your patent falls and that Patent Examiner’s queue.
What Is Patent-Pending?
You can say your invention is “patent pending” after you file a provisional patent application. You can still produce, sell, and license your creation while your patent is pending. Eventually, after you file your non-provisional application, you should expect to receive an Office Action notice from the USPTO within 16-18 months. It will be your responsibility to respond to this notice within the deadline the notice provides. The USPTO will then respond back to you, and this process repeats iteratively until you (hopefully) receive a “notice of allowance.”
Adam, N. (2021, June 9). What percentage of patents are approved? (shocking). Patent Rebel. Retrieved February 23, 2022, from https://patentrebel.com/what-percentage-of-patents-are-approved/#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%20over,design%20patents%2C%20and%20plant%20patents.