7 Ways to Speed Up Your Patent Process
The average application to the USPTO usually takes months to process. Depending on the nature of the application and field in question, you could even be looking at one to two years before being approved.
While this is considered the norm, there are many cases where an early issuance would be advantageous – especially for someone who needs a patent for a new business or even to protect an innovative idea you might have. In any case, a quick patent issuance is ideal, as ideas are stolen or copied all the time.
Currently, patent and trademark office staff are working hard to reduce patent pendency, but there are still a couple of things you can do at yourself to ensure process is hastened. In fact, a combination of these approaches could help procure your patent in under six months.
Pay for Prioritised Examination
According to Chris, a Premises Liability Lawyer at Munley Law: “This is the best way to expedite the process of getting your patent.” It involves paying a premium fee of between $1,000 and $4,000, which allows your application to be examined immediately. The particular amount to be paid will depend on the size of the applicant’s company and paperwork involved.
Apart from the additional fee, this approach includes only four independent patency claims and a total of 30 claims; you are required to file them electronically. This approach particularly applies to applicants who have a plant application or original utility application, which is why it’s the best strategy for technological inventors who have to wait the longest to get their patent approved. Once the Patent and Trademark Office prioritises your application, it should be completed within 12 months.
Many an innovator has fallen victim to losing their patency right because of statutory details that occur before applying. This is why you need to hire a patent practitioner. If you have one on your side, you’ll find that you won’t necessarily have to complete your physical invention before applying for patency. Instead, you can file for it whilst attending to other aspects of your invention like pricing, marketing, engineering, and other associated details. You can always make some changes to the original design and simply apply for a continuation of the patenting at the relevant office.
Use an applicant’s age or health status
The US Patent and Trademark Office will accelerate the patency examination of an application if the applicant is over 65 or in a critical state of health. This option is limited, but in the event it applies to you, it will subsequently save a lot of time. Furthermore, there is no fee required in this case.
File a petition to make your case special
Usually, once you file for a patent, it goes to the back of the line and waits there until your turn to be dealt with, which could take any time up to two years. However, you have the right to petition for your application to be attended to more swiftly. The claims required for this petition to be enforceable include the scenario above (age or declining health); whether your invention can significantly improve the environment or energy development; or if it can be used in the fight against terrorism. Once it’s determined that one or more of these scenarios are true in your particular case, your application will be moved up without any extra fee incurred.
Provide all necessary documentation
Ensure you provide all accompanying documentation to the examiner, as this will help hasten the prior art review. If you’re able to indicate clearly where to focus on looking, this will save time and resources. Don’t wait to be asked for the necessary documents, as this type of behaviour can be detrimental to the process and potentially sour your relationship with the examiner. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time with them in the coming months, so any relationship should be professional and at the same time friendly.
Also, intentionally withholding any prior art reference (to which you are privy) from the examiner can be deemed as inequitable conduct, which may result in the invalidation of your patent at any stage of the process. You should also respond quickly to the office’s correspondence at any juncture. Ideally, you will have 90 days before the deadline of your response, which can be increased to 30 days extra on request. However, there is really no reason to ask for an extension. A quick response on your part will show the examiner you also want them to be fast paced in their processing.
Do a prior art search yourself
If you’ve already hired a patent attorney, all you’ll need to do is instruct them to conduct a thorough prior art search on your behalf. This will resonate with the examiner and demonstrate an understanding of the process on your own part. You’ll also be making their work easier, because you are able to communicate clearly and methodologically.
There are immeasurable benefits to a quick patent. You’ll need a patent to enforce any associated rights should you find a competitor infringing on the technology covered by your invention. Without this, your case could linger on for years (if it isn’t dismissed immediately). The damage such an infringement can do to your business’s market leverage is significant. Therefore, ensure you adopt the relevant approaches to allow for a faster issuance.