The Patent Process!
1The first step in pursuing patent protection for your invention is to provide me with a disclosure of your invention. This disclosure is an attorney-client privileged communication and will only be disclosed to agents or employees of this law firm.
2After obtaining a disclosure of your invention, a search request will be sent to a searcher in Washington, D.C., who will typically conduct a computerized and a manual search in the records of the U.S. Patent Office.
Preliminary Non Infringement Analysis
3If you are anticipating manufacturing or selling product corresponding to your invention, it is suggested that any unexpired patents developed by the patentability search also be reviewed for potential infringement problems associated with patents owned by third parties.
4If the results of the patentability search determine that your invention is patentable in light of the discovered references, and you wish to proceed in pursuing patent protection, a patent application will be prepared based upon your invention disclosure to me. Additional information in the form of drawings, test data, etc., may also be required depending upon the particular invention.
5Almost always, a patent application will be initially rejected based upon either informalities and/or patents developed by our search or a separate search conducted by the Examiner. After filing the response to the first Office Action, the Examiner will again examine your application in light of the arguments set forth in the response.
Payment of Issue Fee
6After your application has been allowed by the Examiner, it will be necessary to pay a government issue fee for your application to actually issue as a U.S. patent. Most likely, formal, inked drawings will also be prepared and filed along with the issue fee.
Issuance of Patent
7A patent typically issues about two to three months after payment of the issue fee. A utility patent has a term of 20 years from the first effective filing date of the application. In the event of a continuation application, the term is thus 20 years from the filing date of the first application filed in the U.S. Patent Office.
8After a utility patent has issued, the government requires payment of maintenance fees during the third, seventh and eleventh years of the patent. The amount of the maintenance fees escalate each time.