After the patent application has been properly completed and filed, and assuming that all of the statutory requirements have been met and the fees have been paid, the USPTO will review the application much like any other application process. The office will check to see if other patents exist that are closely related to your idea and whether or not the invention is useful, is novel and is non-obvious.
There is no hard-and-fast timetable for a decision on an application for a patent. This timetable largely depends on the backlog with the USPTO at any given time, and on average, it takes at least one year if not more to receive a final decision. In the meantime, as long as a valid application has been received, an invention can be labeled as ‘patent pending,’ which provides at least a limited amount of protection while the application is in process.
If a patent application is denied, it basically means that it did not meet at least one of the standards mentioned above. If you find yourself in this position, you have appeal rights at your disposal, but you’ll need a patent attorney to help you through this complicated process with the USPTO. You also have the option of filing another application, but this may not be advisable under certain circumstances.
How to Proceed
Regardless of your specific situation, applying for a United States patent is a long, involved and complicated process, and it should not be done without legal help. You need to work with an experienced patent attorney who understands the basics of patent law and how to properly formulate your application to give it the best chance for approval. It’s generally known that more than 90% of patent applications are initially denied, so do not become discouraged if this has happened to you.
Filing for a patent involves choosing the type of patent – provisional, utility, or design, and every application must meet certain tests, including utility, non-obvious nature, novelty and be involved with processes, machines, compositions of matter, manufactured items or new uses of any of the above. Additionally, can take years for an application to be approved or denied, which is why you need to work with the attorneys to give yourself the best chance for approval from the USPTO.