You’ve come up with an impressive idea. You’ve poured hours into designing, researching, and testing your new invention. Now, you’re ready to secure a design patent to protect your valuable asset, attract investors, and boost your business’s value.
As you start learning about the patent process, you’ll find it can be a time-consuming and lengthy process. For some, it can take years for a patent to receive approval.
What’s the reason for this long wait time? Often, it’s you, the applicant, causing the process to slow down. Applicants may forget necessary documentation, amend their application, or submit claims that are too broad.
Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid these issues while expediting the design patent process. Here are a few simple techniques and tips to help you earn your patent faster.
1. Submit a Robust Application
Your patent application is the first and only item the examiner will read to learn about and understand your invention. The first step in creating a robust application is to write in a clear and concise manner and include all of the necessary documentation. This will also help build a positive relationship with your patent examiner.
All of the drawing descriptions of your inventive concepts should be clear and easily understood by those in the same technical field.
However, most importantly, your application should showcase the features that set your new invention apart from the rest. In a design patent, the patent drawings are your best opportunity to display your invention’s unique features. Keep in mind, in design patents, you cannot simply list the features and offer a broad explanation. Instead, displaying the specific details will give the examiner a clear idea of how your invention works and why it’s worthy of a patent.
Pay close attention to the patent application requirements, as applications lacking detail will slow down the approval process. This is the leading cause of miscommunication, confusion, and denied applications.
Patent examiners also have time limits when reviewing applications. Therefore, they don’t want to spend extra time cleaning an application full of issues and confusing details. By reviewing your application before submitting it to your examiner, you can streamline your application and catch obvious errors.
You should always take the time to understand the application requirements and submit a polished application. Doing so will avoid delays and send-backs, which will help you earn your patent faster.
2. Keep Your Claim Straightforward
In other patent documents submitting several patent claims that can be broad or narrow is more desirable as they can also cover future inventions and uses. However, the beauty of design patents is their simplicity. Every design patent requires only a single patent claim, and that claim is a standardized sentence. All you need to do is add a description of your invention to this standardized sentence, and you’re done. Don’t overthink this part of the process; a short, simple description of your invention will do just fine.
3. Clear Communication
Clear communication between you and your patent examiner is key for faster patent processing. Beyond providing clear details and documentation, you’ll need to communicate directly with your examiner. Anytime you have a question or an issue arises with your application, you should talk or meet directly with your examiner.
Emails are a good form of communication, but they leave a lot of room for confusion. This added confusion will only slow down the patent process. In many cases, meeting face-to-face results in more positive responses than email. However, if a face-to-face meeting is not possible, you can always call your patent examiner. You should receive a phone number that you can use to contact your examiner when the USPTO processes your patent application.
The First Actions Interview Pilot Program allows applicants to request an interview with their examiner to discuss their application. Direct communication will also let you explain the nuances of your invention and quickly answer any of the examiner’s questions. This will help your examiner gain a complete and detailed understanding of your invention(s).
4. Use Examiner Interviews Wisely
When you do meet with an examiner for an interview, use that one-on-one time wisely. Keep all of your questions and concerns focused on your application, patent, and invention. Like you, your examiner also wants to help speed up the application process.
To make the best use of your interview time together, meet after the first action when you receive the results of your application. At this point, your examiner will have reviewed your patent application, which will allow them to help you and your application faster. Requesting an examiner interview before this often results in longer meetings, confusion, and wasted time.
When you meet, have any questions and amendments to your application ready for discussion. Most examiners are happy to help you with any application issues. In some cases, they may help you improve your overall application.
You don’t want to waste time with your examiner when you meet. Their time is valuable, and they also want the patent process to be as short as possible. Therefore, anything you can do to streamline the meeting and keep focused will be greatly appreciated by your examiner. Anything you can do to keep the examiner on your side is highly recommended.
Enjoy a Speedy Patent Process
Examiners are on your side throughout the patent process and will do what they can to help expedite the process. The time it takes to process patent applications relies heavily on the applicant and the invention’s subject matter. However, in most cases, you can enjoy a speedy patent process by staying focused, communicating clearly in your application, and taking advantage of any time you get to speak with your examiner.
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