How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent?

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To secure a patent, an inventor or creator must file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The type of patent and nature of the filing will affect the patent processing time.

In this article, we explain the types of patent and the process and time period for applying for patent protection.


Types of Patents

There are three types of patent filing: utility patent, design patent, and plant patent. Utility patents concern a process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter. Design concern the aesthetic or design elements of a creation (such as a dress or automobile design). A plant patent concerns the genetic combination of an engineered plan species.

This article will address the time period for prosecuting a utility patent application. The utility patent must demonstrate that the claimed elements of the invention are novel, non-obvious, and useful. There are two types of utility patent application — provision and non-provisional.  A non-provisional patent contains the following information:

  • The names of all inventors,
  • Residences of the inventors,
  • Name or title of the invention,
  • Patent agent or attorney and registration number (if applicable)
  • Address for correspondence,
  • Any U.S. Government agency with rights in the invention,
  • A specification for the objective, purpose, and usefulness of the invention,
  • Detailed drawings of the structure and nature of the invention, and
  • Claimed elements of the invention sought to be protected.

A provisional patent is an initial filing that includes all of the elements of a non-provisional patent except the claims (elements of the invention sought to be protected), the inventor’s oath, and references to prior art.


Patent Filing Process

The process for filing a non-provisional utility patent with the USPTO proceeds as follows:

  • Filing application
  • Review of the filing to make certain all application formalities are completed
  • Assigned to class or subclass of patent filings
  • Case is docketed for an examiner
  • Application is published publicly on the USPTO website
  • Examiner processes the case in order of the filing date
  • Examiner conducts substantive examination of the patent claims
  • Applicant receives First Action Review
  • Examiner considers applicant responses
  • Determination to allow or reject the application

A provisional patent goes through formalities review and is published to the USPTO website. The provisional patent is not reviewed by an examiner. The examiner will review the non-provisional patent amending or referencing the provisional patent.


Patent Processing Time

The time period for prosecuting a patent will depend on whether you file a normal patent or request expedited review. Under a traditional application, after searching prior art and completing the patent application, the filing will generally undergo examination within 18-24 months. After examination begins, the time period will depend upon whether the patent claims are granted or whether there is a back-and-forth between the examiner and the applicant. Most traditional patent applications grant or are rejected approximately 3 years from the date of filing. If the applicant files for prioritized examination, the application will receive a final disposition within 12 months of the prioritized status being granted. Prioritized examination is subject to a large filing fee and is limited to 10,000 requests per year.


LawTrades Knows Intellectual Property

Intellectual property practice is an extremely complicated area of law. Small errors in a patent application can cause the application to be rejected or denied. It’s important to get the process right the first time. Don’t go it alone. The legal professionals at LawTrades are experts in patent law. They can assist you with your patent application and prosecution.