Fast Route to a Patent

Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014.

The normal timetable for issuance of a utility patent can be three years or more. Examination statistics show the average period of pendency improving as the office hires more examiners. However, a pendency of three years may be too long for some applicants.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a variety of programs for accelerating issuance of a patent. For utility patent applications, the office recently began a program called “Track One” examination, in which the applicant pays a surcharge and the application is advanced to a priority position in line to be examined. The objective of Track One is for the application to receive either an issued patent or a Final Rejection within a year of the application being filed.

However, an even faster route to issuance of a patent is to consider a design patent. I previously wrote about design patents here. By submitting a request for expedited examination of a design application and paying the appropriate fee, an applicant for a design patent can sometimes receive it in as little as three months. This is the fastest way to a patent I know of.

For example, on June 30th of 2014, I filed a design application on behalf of a client (Intriguing Ideas, LLC, of Seattle), requested expedited examination, and submitted the surcharge advanced to me by the client. The resulting patent is D713285, having an issue date of September 16, 2014. The total pendency for that application is 78 days, well under three months.

In an expedited examination, a pre-examination search is conducted by the applicant or the applicant’s representative. The results of the search are provided to the patent office and considered during the expedited examination. This is in contrast to other types of applications where a patent search is not required. In the expedited examination for a design application, the patent search conducted by the applicant prior to submitting the application is a requirement. That search permits the office to more quickly examine the application, resulting in the shorter pendency.

As I previously wrote, I frequently counsel clients seeking a patent to consider both a utility patent and a design patent. By filing the expedited examination request for the design application, when that application matures into a design patent the inventor can sometimes say that the invention is patented in as little as three months, even while waiting for a utility application to be processed. Consequently, a complete strategy for fast patenting can include a utility application on the normal timetable, complemented with a design application that has been expedited.

In short – want a U.S. patent really fast? Consider a design patent application with expedited application. You may obtain the issued patent in as little as three months.

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