Obtaining a patent for your product can be a complex process, but with the help of a patent attorney, it can be much easier to manage. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it takes about 22 months to get a patent approved. However, this timeline can vary depending on the type of application you have filed and the quality of your application. Before filing a patent application, it is important to perform a patent search for your product. This will help determine if your product, or a part of it, qualifies for a patent.
Poorly drafted patent applications usually take longer to become issued patents than well-drafted applications. Once your lawyer determines that your invention deserves further investigation, they will usually conduct an extensive search for patents that are the same or similar to yours. It is not uncommon for a design patent application that is considered worthy of patent protection to receive notification from the USPTO to grant authorization within one or two years from the date the application is filed. Utility and reissue patents are issued approximately four weeks after the issuance fee and the Office receives any required publication fee. A patent number and an issue date will be assigned to the application and an issue notice will be mailed once the USPTO has paid and processed the issue fee. Maintenance fees are required to keep a patent in effect more than 4, 8 and 12 years after the date utility patents are issued and to be reissued. It is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a patent attorney in drafting your application to the USPTO.
If you have filed the patent application on your own, contact an attorney who can examine it to ensure that you have met all the requirements established by the USPTO. However, unless you file a non-provisional application, either first or within one year of the filing date of the provisional patent application, you will not be able to receive a patent on your product. If you file a provisional patent application instead of the normal utility patent application, the USPTO will not include your application in the examination queue. See the patent application guides for detailed legal requirements for filing the type of patent application that you have determined is right for you. The time elapsed from the filing of the patent application to the issuance of a patent varies and depends on the type of application you have filed.