Applying for a patent in itself takes a lot of time. From the moment you decide to get a patent until the patent has been approved could take years. This is why some people are discouraged from filing for a patent, no matter how beneficial it is for them.
Once the patent application has been filed, it will be marked as pending. You will then get a receipt of application with a serial number. You have to keep this document so you can easily follow up with the respective government office later. If you are planning to file for an international patent, the process is way longer. You need to have the local patent approved first before going international.
There is a department that will take care of the review of your patent application. However, remember that just because the documents have been filed, and will be automatically processed for approval, there is still a possibility that the documents will be returned to you. Incomplete pages, forms, drawings, and other document errors or omissions could derail your application.
You will also be asked to pay the required fee upon completion of all the documents to be filed. Once you have completed all the forms and paid the required fee, the review of your application begins. Typically, it will last for about a year, but up to three years depending on what you have asked to be patented. You can apply for the accelerated examination programme to fast track the application but it won’t be quicker than 8 months.
The number of patents that are waiting for approval is the main reason for the delay. Everything has to be carefully scrutinised to avoid duplication.
Also, just because your documents are being processed does not mean the next step is approval. After waiting for some time, your application could still end up being rejected. The decision lies with the body designated to review the patent application.
Rejection of application
You will be notified if your application has been rejected. After receipt of the information, you are given up to 3 months to appeal the decision and ask for an extension. You also need to pay more fees. Changes have to be made before appealing the decision. The examining body will inform you of the reasons behind the rejection so the necessary changes can be made. Don’t feel bad, most applicants are denied the first time.
Even when the patent has finally been approved, there is another payment required before finally issuing the patent document.
This is a really long process and can be stressful. Check out the best patent application software to make it easier for you to apply for a patent.
Image via freedigitalphotos.net (Stuart Miles)