Before applying for intellectual property protection, inventors are always concerned with how long the USPTO patent filing timeline usually takes. Ultimately, there is no clear answer to this question. The average provisional, design, or utility patent filing timeline depends on several key factors. The complexity of your application, current wait times at the USPTO, and the expertise of your US patent attorney Ohio can all seriously impact the speed of prosecution. As a novel inventor yourself, it will probably help to first know more about the patent drafting, filing, and prosecution timeline itself. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of exactly what to expect before you apply. To help you secure the protection you need, read on to learn how long the USPTO patent filing timeline is on average.
Phase #1: Drawings Preparation
One of the first stages in the patent filing timeline is all about drawings. On average, this phase takes around one to two weeks. Of course, it can always be completed faster if you are working with a reputable patent attorney or inventions drawings firm. Patent drawings are essentially visual documents that tell the unique story of your novel invention. They’ll include a professional depiction of the six views of your invention, including bottom, top, front, back, left, and right. It will also highlight some perspective and exploding views of your product. This is key to demonstrate texture, depth, and size. It will also give your agent a better understanding of how the invention actually works. Certainly, one of the first phases of the patent filing timeline is centered around drawings preparation.
Phase #2: Application Selection
The next phase in the patent filing timeline asks you to select a formal type of application. As long as you have a solid understanding of what you need, this stage can be completed very quickly. In fact, you can likely get through this portion in two days or less. Of course, you need to choose between protecting your idea with a provisional, design, or utility application. A provisional patent is best for inventors that are just getting started with product development. Essentially, it provides you a one-year “Patent Pending” status for your unique idea. If you need a higher level of protection, utility or design patent protection will likely be best. The main distinction between the two is that design patents extend to the visual and ornamental qualities of your unique invention.
Phase #3: Patent Searching
At this point in the patent filing timeline, it is time to perform a search. Securing a patent search report usually takes about one week. Essentially, these thorough examinations carefully search for any similar prior art references. This will reveal any issued, published, or pending patents that are similar to yours. This search will extend to anything that currently exists in the public domain. Of course, this will reveal if your invention truly is new, novel, and non-obvious. Securing this type of report, you can reduce redundant research, save time, and accelerate the time to commercialization. Indeed, the third phase of the patent filing timeline will ask you to secure a formal search report.
Phase #4: Application Submission
During the fourth phase of the patent filing timeline, you can officially prepare and submit your application. The instructions for proper USPTO patent submission need to be precisely followed. Most commonly, your patent agent will submit all your files using the Patent Office’s online filing system. This is known to promote time savings and accelerate the prosecution process. While it is possible to submit by yourself, it is highly-advised to work with an agent or attorney. After all, they have successfully submitted hundreds of applications throughout their time in business. This means they know exactly how to do so without error.
Phase #5: Office Action Response & Approval
The final stage in the patent filing timeline is where you actually get your application. In some situations, you may need to deal with office action responses after your application is submitted. This is because USPTO examiners may have additional comments, questions, or concerns regarding your idea. Once everything checks out, they will officially grant your application. You’ll be informed of all the time deadlines and maintenance requirements too. Definitely, office action response is one of the final, most important phases in the patent filing timeline.
There are several phases to help you estimate the entire duration of the USPTO patent filing timeline. First off, you’ll need to prepare your drawings. This is important whether you are filing an information technology, medical device, or software patent. Next, you’ll likely move on into application selection. Once you’ve decided on a form of application, conduct a formal patent search. Then, you can move on into submitting your application. Now, you are ready to await response from the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Follow the points highlighted above to learn how long the USPTO patent filing timeline is on average.