Jacqueline Tadros, P.A. | Fort Lauderdale, Florida Intellectual Property Attorney

Patent FAQs

How do I get a U.S. patent?

The first step is to conduct a patent search to determine whether the proposed invention is indeed novel and non-obvious. If the results of the patent search suggest the likelihood of obtaining a U.S. patent, then an application is filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO thereafter examines the application and a patent is either granted or denied.

What is novel?

An invention is novel if it is not previously known or described in a publication.

What is non-obvious?

An invention is non-obvious if it is not in a form which is readily identified by someone skilled in the art.

How do I protect my patent rights outside the U.S.?

Patent protection for U.S inventors is available outside the U.S. only if the inventor complies with national laws and international conventions. A U.S. patent provides no protection outside the United States.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property is a treaty that is adhered to by 168 countries, including the United States. It provides that each country guarantees to the citizens of the other countries the same rights in patent and trademark matters that it gives to its own citizens.

Another treaty known as the Patent Cooperation Treaty facilitates the filing of applications for patents on the same invention in member countries.

What percent of patent applications mature into patents?

Approximately 85% of patent applications eventually mature into issued patents.

How long will it take to conduct a patent search?

A patent search generally takes 1-2 weeks to prepare.

How long will it take to prepare an application?

Depending on the complexity of the invention, a patent application may take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months or longer to prepare.

How long will it take to get a patent?

Once the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office receives the application, the Patent Office will examine the application. The prosecution of a patent application generally results in one or more Office Actions and may take anywhere from 12 months to over 3 years depending on the technical art, the backlog in the patent department and other matters.

How long is my patent good for?

Patent terms are limited to twenty (20) years from the date of filing for utility patents and fourteen (14) years from the date of issuance for design patents.

Is my patent application available to the public?

Patent applications are usually published 18 months after the filing date of the application. Otherwise, all patent applications are maintained in the strictest confidence until the patent issues or the application is published.

Can I request that my patent application not be made public?

Yes. You may elect to file a Non-Publication Request. However, if you elect not to have your patent application published after 18 months, you cannot file an application for your invention in another country, or under a multilateral international agreement, such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty, that requires publication of applications 18 months after filing. A Non-Publication Request may be rescinded by filing appropriate documents and paying the required fees.

What is an Office Action?

The reasons for any adverse action or any objection or requirement by the Examining Attorney are stated in an Office Action and such information or references are given as may be useful in aiding the applicant to judge the propriety of continuing the prosecution of the application.

If the claimed invention is not directed to patentable subject matter, the claims will be rejected. If the Examining Attorney finds that the claimed invention lacks novelty or differs only in an obvious manner from what is found in the prior art, the claims may also be rejected.

It is not uncommon for some or all of the claims to be rejected on the first Office Action. Relatively few applications are allowed as filed.

What is a Provisional Patent Application?

Since June 1995, the USPTO has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for patent. The provisional application provides a lower cost patent filing in the United States and gives U.S. applicants parity with foreign applicants.

A provisional application provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a patent application and permits the term “Patent Pending” to be applied in connection with the invention.

Provisional applications are not examined on their merits. Claims and oath or declaration are not required for a provisional application. A provisional application will become abandoned by the operation of law 12 months from its filing date.

*Provisional applications may not be filed for design inventions.

What is a maintenance fee?

All utility patents that issue from applications filed on or after December 12, 1980 are subject to the payment of maintenance fees which must be paid to maintain the patent in force. These fees are due at the 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years anniversaries of the date of issuance of the patent. A current fee schedule can be viewed on the USPTO web site.