For those who have not gone through the Examination Process, I can almost hear you saying: "April, so what's the Patent Examination Process like?"
Well, I thought you would never ask.
Let me give you a brief overview of the process. I can guide you through the process as indicated below, using simplistic references and examples without a lot of legalese.
When your patent application is drafted, you can either have a registered patent attorney to file your case or you can do it yourself (as an Inventor filing Pro Se). If you file on your own, you will need a USPTO.gov account. You can get more information about the filing process using the USPTO.gov's helpful information on their website (see "Patents"=>"Inventor and Entrepreneur Resources") or you can call the help desk.
Examination of your case can take on the average 24-36 months. During the examination phase, an Examiner will perform a comprehensive prior art search of all the patents and technical publications that may be related to your innovative concept. Within 14-17 months after filing, the Examiner will provide a listing of objections and rejections in a report known as an "Office Action," which requires a response in order to continue with the examination of your case. It's up to your attorney to present compelling and persuasive arguments as to why your innovative concept is truly novel and non-obvious over whatever prior art reference(s) the Examiner has found. This part can be tricky. This is why it's good to hire a skilled patent attorney.
If your patent is granted, the term of your patent will be 20 years from the date of filing for a utility patent and 14 years from date of grant for a design patent. At this point, you will be responsible for paying the issue fee. At the 3 1/2, 7 1/2, and 11 1/2 year anniversaries of your patent issue, you will be responsible for paying a maintenance fee. These fees are published on the USPTO's website - USPTO.gov.
If you have any questions, please feel free to schedule a consult below. We would be more than happy to answer your questions.
April M. Mosby, is the founder of Monarch IP Group, PLLC. With over 20 years of Patent Prosecution and Appellate experience preparing, prosecuting, and maintaining over 300 domestic and international patent applications (drafting over 60 Prevailing Appeal Briefs and over 600 Amendment Responses), April has protected client’s products and services in a timely cost-efficient manner with several Fortune 500 clients and various others. During her tenure on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the USPTO, she drafted over 500 Appellate Decisions. Her current practice also includes Trademark Prosecution and Copyright Prosecution. Additionally, she has substantive experience in Patent Licensing.
Licensed to Practice Law in Virginia, New Jersey, and Texas, in general; and to practice Patent Law in any state before the USPTO, in particular.
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