If you are considering applying for a patent, you are probably wondering how long the process takes. Each month that goes by can affect your bottom line and your growth potential.
The truth is that the patent process is not a quick one, and the average time for approval is around two years. This can be longer if there are challenges to resolve during the examination process. If you want to speed the process along, there are be a couple of potential options to pursue.
Before filling out a patent application, it is smart to conduct, or have conducted for you, a patent search. This can save you time and expense in the event someone else has already patented, or previously applied for and had published, the invention. If the search does not find the same invention, the next step is to prepare and file the application.
Once you file the application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a USPTO examiner analyses the application to determine whether the claims meet the patent protection requirements. One of the reasons it takes a long time for patent approval is because it is not uncommon for examiners to reject some of the claims, which increases the number of steps an applicant must take.
Accelerated application options
According to the USPTO, there are limited circumstances that may allow for accelerated examination of a patent application. The most commonly used procedure is a petition to make special. The office will expedite an individual’s application, without any extra fees, if the inventor requests accelerated examination and is 65 years of age or older, or has health issues. There may also be a fast-track examination, for any inventor, with payment of additional fees to the Patent Office.
Certain petitions to make special are for select areas, such as recombinant DNA, HIV Aids and cancer, environmental quality and countering terrorism, and the applicants must comply with certain requirements outlined by the accelerated examination program.