Kevin Mark Klughart
PhD, PE, JD, MIP, LLM
Patent Attorney / Engineer
The timeline associated with filing a patent application with the USPTO depends in part on what type of patent application is being filed. There are generally four broad categories of patent applications:
These general classes may further be delineated by the type of processing used by the USPTO in examining the patent application:
Provisional Patent Applications
Since Provisional Patent Applications are NOT examined by the USPTO, there is no examination timeline associated with their filing. However, you can expect a filing receipt back from the USPTO within one month and a foreign filing license back within three months of the date of filing.
Utility Patent Applications
The timeline for Utility Patent Applications includes a 2-6 week drafting/preparation time in which drawings for the application are prepared and a written specification is generated along with claims which define the scope of the invention. A good rule of thumb is to have your drawings completed before the specification is written, as a well formed set of drawings is the basis for any good patent application. If the drawings are generated by a patent draftsman you should allow 2-4 weeks for their preparation. However, if the drawings are amenable to CAD generation they can be generated in less time, often in conjunction with the written specification.
Once the drawings, written specification, and claims are complete, the patent application can be filed with the USPTO, at which time the application is assigned to an art group for future examination. The delay between filing and examination can range from 1-4 years depending on the technology area of the invention. In some circumstances the examination can be expedited by filing a petition, but the hurdles for this process have been raised significantly in recent years, making the process far more expensive than it once was.
Design Patent Applications
The timeline for Design Patent Applications includes a 2-4 week drafting/preparation time in which drawings for the application are prepared and a minimal written specification/claim is generated. Since the majority of the content of a design patent application is in the drawings, the leadtime on filing is dominated by the turnaround time associated with the patent draftsman. Good quality sketches and/or photographs of exemplary embodiments are essential in making this process seamless and rapid.
Once filed a design patent application will be examined in course within 1-2 years unless expedited with a special fee and additional paperwork. I strongly recommend that all design patent applicants make use of the expedited special handling to guarantee an upper bound on the timeline for examination.
Plant Patent Applications
As with Design Patent Applications, the majority of time in the patent preparation process is due to the generation of drawings for the application. The timeline for examination is similar to that for a Utility Patent Application.
Kevin Mark Klughart
Registered Patent Attorney, USPTO
3825 Leisure Lane, Denton, TX 76210-5589
tel: 800-353-1211 / 940-320-0580 - fax 940-320-0581