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A patent is a government granted right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention or importing the invention for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.

What is a U.S. patent?

A U.S. patent is generally a grant of a right from the federal government to an inventor to exclude others from making, selling, using, or importing the claimed invention in the U.S. in exchange for the inventor’s disclosure of the invention to the public. The inventor’s disclosure must generally be written in a manner that allows one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention based on the disclosure. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What qualifies for a patent in the U.S.?

A patentable invention may be any process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter that is new, useful, and non-obvious over what has already been practiced. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Do I need a patent search before filing an application?

No. However, a patent search may help the patent applicant evaluate the likelihood of obtaining a patent of a desired scope before the applicant spends a substantial amount in preparing the patent application. A patent search may also reveal some potentially conflicting patent, which may pose a patent infringement liability to the applicant. Although an applicant may conduct a free patent search, such as using the United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO) website, the applicant may find it very easy to miss a particular keyword that might bring out the relevant prior art. The applicant may also be overwhelmed with the amount of references a search query may reveal. Therefore, a professional patent search is highly recommended.

To start a professional patent search, we ask that you provide us with a description of your invention and preferably a sketch of your invention. The materials you submit to us will be kept strictly confidential.

What is the difference between a utility application and a design application?

A utility application is an application that seeks to patent and protect the structural features and/or functional features of an invention. A design application, on the other hand, is an application that seeks to patent and protect an ornamental feature of an invention. Whether you should file a utility or design application depends on the kind of invention you have, your goals, and the kind of protection you seek. Not all inventions can be a subject of a design application. It is best that you consult with a registered patent attorney to determine which application to file. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What is a provisional application?

A provisional application is usually filed to preserve an early filing date, which may become critical in determining who was first to invent the invention. It usually has the components of a regular application, except for the claims section. A regular application must be filed one year after filing the provisional application. Otherwise, the provisional application will be abandoned. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not publish or examine provisional applications. Provisional applications do not issue into patents. While many benefits can be derived from filing a provisional application, patent law imposes complex requirements for obtaining the full benefits from a provisional application. Therefore, it is important to talk to a registered patent attorney regarding provisional applications. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What are the benefits of obtaining a “patent pending” status?

“Patent pending” means an application that is “complete,” as defined by patent law, has been filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Once obtained, an inventor may mark the product that is the subject matter of the filed application with the “Patent Pending” mark, which may add marketing value. Additionally, some inventors may find it easier to attract investors upon obtaining the “patent pending” status. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Why should I try to obtain an early filing date?

Having an early filing date is critical for an inventor in establishing ownership of the invention in the United States and all around the world. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

How long does the patenting process take?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) organizes applications filed according to various classifications, which are mainly based on the field or technology to which the invention pertains. Once the application is filed, the application typically waits in line for one year and a half before it is examined, depending on the classification of the invention. Some classes of invention have more applications in line for examination than other classes, and thus examination of the applications falling into these classes may take longer. On average, the entire process (from filing of the application to the issuance of the patent) takes about three years. This should not be taken as a guarantee that a patent will issue from an application or that a particular event will occur within the time frame stated. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What happens after the application is filed?

Generally, the application is preliminarily examined for completeness. Once the application is considered complete by theUnited States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the application waits in line to be examined for patentability. The application typically waits in line for one and a half years depending on the classification the application falls into. Thereafter, the application is examined for patentability. If the examiner finds no prior art that discloses, suggests, or teaches the claimed invention, the examiner issues a “notice of allowance.” Otherwise, the examiner issues an “office action” with a detailed discussion of the rejection. The applicant usually has three months to respond, or six months if the applicant pays extension fees. After the applicant files a response, the examiner either issues another “office action” or a “notice of allowance.” The events described above are events that typically occur. However, other complicated events may occur. Plenty of strategies may be adopted in dealing with a decision from the Patent Office. It is best to consult a registered patent attorney who can lay out these strategies for you and lead you into the most efficient and economical direction. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Why should I hire the Law Offices of Roland Tong, A Professional Corporation to handle my intellectual property matter?

  1. Personal Service. The patenting process takes a long time (usually about three years). You need to be able to talk to your lawyer at your convenience, and be kept informed about the process. At Tong & Associates, you will have direct access to your lawyer – you won’t be kept waiting.
  2. Knowledgeable. Roland Tong is experienced and knowledgeable about Patent Law and the patenting process. He keeps up-to-date with the ever-changing patent laws. Roland Tong has published numerous articles about Patent Law.
  3. Reasonable Rates. We offer economical flat rate “package” prices for our patent and trademark services.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Roland Tong handles patent, trademark, and other intellectual property needs for clients throughout Southern California. For further information about intellectual property law, please contact us today. To learn more about a variety of topics please see our Blog or Intellectual Property FAQs.

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