What is the overall patent process?
The patent process for obtaining patent protection involves 1) a patentability opinion, 2) preparation and filing of the patent application, 3) prosecution of the patent application, 4) issuance, abandonment, or appeal of the patent application, and 5) maintenance fees.
Step 1: Patentability Opinion
The first step of the patent process is the patentability opinion which includes a search of the prior art. During the search, we develop an opinion as to whether the patent office is like to grant a patent on the invention. You don’t have to go out and search for prior art references that might invalidate your patent. However, you do have to disclose relevant information that you know of to the patent office. In other words, there is no duty to search for prior art but there is a duty to disclose relevant information to the patent office.
Step 2: Preparation and filing of a patent application
In the second step of the patent process, we write your patent application. Upon your approval, we file the patent application with the Patent Office. The preparation and filing of the patent application involve the preparation of a document that describes your invention. This document must be able to allow another person to make and use your invention. The patent application is not a check-the-box type of application.
Step 3: Patent prosecution
Prosecution of a patent application refers to the correspondence between the patent attorney representing the inventor and the Patent Office. Correspondence includes documents such as a written response to an Office Action from the Patent Office. This response is an argument trying to convince the examiner that your invention is worthy of a patent. The Office Action is the official stance of the Patent Office on whether they will grant you a patent or not.
Step 4: Issuance, Appeal, or Abandonment
If the patent applicant is successful in the prosecution stage of the patent process, then the patent application will issue as a patent. If the patent applicant is unsuccessful in the prosecution stage then the patent applicant may abandon the patent application or appeal the decision of the examiner to an independent board for review as to whether the examiner is correct.
Step 5: Maintenance Fees
If you are successful in obtaining a patent, then there are maintenance fees 3 ½, 7 ½ and 11 ½ years that are due after the issuance of your patent. This is the overall general process for obtaining a patent. If you would like to more, please do not hesitate to contact me at (949) 433-0900 or [email protected].
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