How does the patent process work?

An application for patent must be filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The preparation of the application requires knowledge of the scientific or technical matters involved in the particular invention, as well as an intimate understanding of patent law and the policies of the USPTO as explained in article too.

The patent process:

  • First, the invention is defined and described to a patent professional. This may be by demonstrating a prototype, or describing the invention in detailed written form, or by verbal description.
  • Next, a preliminary patentability search is conducted to determine if the invention is new and if products made incorporating the invention would be infringing on existing patents.
  • A draft patent application is then presented to the inventor for his or her review.
  • Once the draft is finalized, the application is filed with the USPTO.
  • The USPTO issues a filing receipt within about four weeks, and the application is assigned to a patent examiner.

Within twelve to eighteen months, the application is examined. The USPTO examiner provides either a notice of allowance or a rejection letter. About 70% of all applications are initially rejected, usually because the examiner finds prior patents that he or she considers relevant, but which were not called out in the initial application.

If allowance is not given, a rebuttal or amendment to the application may be filed to place the application in condition for allowance. About 90% of initially rejected applications can be amended for allowance.

Once the allowance is granted, an issue fee is paid and the patent is issued. A notice is printed in the Official Gazette of the PTO, which provides worldwide legal notice of ownership. While this was just a short guide on patenting your idea, you can read the much more detailed guide on

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