Experienced Patent Prosecution Attorney Helping Clients Across the Country Through the Patent Application Process
Patent prosecution is the process by which the patent application is prepared and filed, and the case is taken through the system to produce an issued and enforceable patent. Patent prosecution is not the same thing as patent litigation, which can happen if an already-granted patent is infringed upon. Patent preparation is the process of doing the research necessary to ensure that a product or idea meets the initial requirements to receive a patent.
In patent prosecution, you can add (or lose) tremendous profit potential depending on a wide range of variables. One wildcard is the prior art that the Patent Examiner will apply against your invention. Another unknown is the Examiner’s personality and technological aptitude as it applies to your patent application. By employing experienced and competent patent prosecution counsel, you can dramatically shorten the time it takes to get through the patent process. In addition to shortening the delay in getting an issued patent, a proven patent prosecutor can provide many small moves designed to fully maximize the potential value of the resulting patent when you enforce it against infringers or offer it in exchange for royalty income from licensees. The patent prosecution process is primarily concerned with getting litigation quality claims into your issued patent in as little time and as cost-efficient as possible. Successful patent prosecution requires a diverse skill set in negotiation, patent litigation, your technology, and a keen appreciation for your business opportunities and the competitive landscape. An experienced, licensed patent prosecution attorney from Thompson Patent Law can lead you through all of the steps of patent prosecution and streamline the process for maximum possible success. Call our office today at (512) 649-1046 to get started protecting your invention or idea.
What Are the Steps of the Patent Prosecution Process?
In the United States, the first step in the patent prosecution process is to correctly file your application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After a waiting period, a reviewer will be assigned to examine your application by doing an extensive search for any prior art that might invalidate your claim to your idea’s uniqueness and by reviewing your claims.
There is very often an interaction between the examiner and your patent prosecution attorney at this stage, as the examiner may have questions that need to be addressed and clarified in the process of making a decision as to your product or idea’s patentability. As soon as you begin the patent process with the filing of the application, you may use the term “patent pending” in your marketing and labeling. After a period of time conducting research, the reviewer will either approve your patent or reject your application.
Is There Any Recourse if My Patent Application is Denied?
Statistically, almost every utility patent application will be rejected at least once. This is normal. This first rejection is called a “First Office Action,” and represents the opening of a negotiation with the patent examiner. Like an expert chess player, an expert patent prosecutor will anticipate this rejection and have already embedded numerous “strategic tools” into your patent application during the patent preparation phase. If your claims are strategically drafted to minimize resistance and friction during the patent prosecution phase, you will be set up to enjoy a more valuable patent, faster, for less. An Office Action rejection may be successfully overcome by skillful amendment and argument in face-to-face and/or written negotiations with the Examiner.
Unsuccessful negotiations, however, will merely result in additional rounds of rejection with your subsequent response. Until you are able to overcome the rejection so your patent is allowed, you can repeat the rejection and response cycle as long as you want to. Typically, each rejection may add 4 to 6 months to the issuance of your patent.
Do I Really Need a Patent Prosecution Lawyer?
The U.S. Patent Office “always recommends using a registered patent attorney or agent” because the “patent process is a complex set of laws, regulations, policies and procedures.” Prosecution is also very procedurally sophisticated with significant impact on an inventor’s financial opportunities. The patent prosecution system is designed to control whether a patent is granted with an extremely valuable monopoly power to control who can make, use, or sell an invention, or whether the patent is abandoned (i.e., worthless). Learning all of the ins and outs of this process can take years. There are steps that an experienced patent prosecution attorney can take to streamline the process and get you the best possible outcome for your patent application. Call Thompson Patent Law today to access our years of knowledge and experience in patent prosecution.