Inventors filing patent
applications in the U.S.A.,
can take advantage of
disclosure grace period,
not available abroad.
FAQ Filing For A Patent In The U.S.A.
...types of applications & deadlines
Who can apply for a patent in the U.S.A.?
Only the true inventor can apply for a patent, regardless of age or citizenship. In fact, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rule states that a patent may be applied for only in the name(s) of the actual inventor(s). Consequently, inventors working for others will have their names appearing on patents covering their inventions, however, the rights to those patents would be assigned to their employers.
What are domestic applications?
There are three regular applications, for three types of patents which include: 1) utility patent application (most common, covering any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof); 2) design patent application (utilized to patent a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture); 3) plant patent application (may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant). The fourth type of application is a provisional application, informally known as temporary. The main purpose of this application is to secure your invention's place in line of other inventions waiting to be patented. It is important to remember that a provisional application will not be converted into a patent and will expire within a year of its issuance.
What is the meaning of "patent pending" term?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office indicates that "Patent Pending" term could be utilized to inform the public that your application for patent is on file in their office. In fact, as soon as the Patent Office receives your application (provisional or regular), you may start using "Patent Pending" term. It is important to point out that the law imposes a fine on those who use these terms falsely to deceive the public.
Do I need a formal opinion to file a patent application?
No. There is no legal requirement imposing any formal analysis prior to filing a patent application. However, a thorough analysis of your invention, prior to filing a patent application, may improve your patentability chances. Some of the most common patent-analysis tools include: invalidity opinions (checking validity of a competing patent), right-to-practice opinion (checking if your invention infringes on an existing patent), patentability opinion (checking if your invention is likely to be patented).
What are the common patent-related deadlines?
First and foremost, you must file your patent application within one year after you revealed your invention for commercial reasons. This grace period is not applicable in other countries. Similarly, you will have a one year grace period to file a regular patent application, after filing a provisional application. In addition, once a patent is granted, you must pay the required maintenance fees, due at 3-1/2, 7-1/2, and 11-1/2 after patent is granted. These deadlines represent only a small sample of a plethora of deadlines associated with filing domestic and foreign patent applications.
How long does it take to get a patent?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has been struggling to keep up with an overwhelming amount of patent application flooding their office. This difficult situation was exacerbated by the advent of the internet, mobile devise and any related inventions. Consequently, it may take up to three years to obtain a patent for a simple invention, and this waiting period can stretch up to six, or even seven years, for more complex inventions.
What if my patent application gets rejected?
Do not despair if your patent application gets rejected. In fact, most patent applications are rejected on the first office actions. The proper response is to file any necessary amendments to your claims defining, in technical terms, the extent of the protection conferred by a patent. By the same token, even the final rejection should not be viewed as terminal. A Request for Continuing Examination may be filed allowing the prosecution of your patent application to continue.