You can probably already imagine it. The minute investors hear about your idea, they will be more than happy to give you their money. You will finally get the chance to make that multi-million conglomerate you have always dreamt of. The only question is, how fast can you get a patent and start pitching your idea?
Most first-time applicants who need a patent are surprised when they realize how long getting a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office can take. It may take months between filing the patent application to issuance of the first Office Action, and even longer for the final deposition.
Is There a Way to Get a Patent Fast?
If the standard length of time it takes to earn a patent is unsatisfactory for you, and you need a patent very quickly, there are several programs that expedite the process. These include Petition to Make Special, Patent Prosecution Highway, Track One, and Accelerated Examination.
Petition to Make Special
In general, it could take years before a patent is issued. Usually, patent applications are reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis. However, one can use a petition to ask the examiners to give special attention to their application and review it ahead of the rest.
The approval of this petition is only granted under certain circumstances. For instance, if you’re over 65 years old or have an illness that may deter you from following up on the patent, you could get approval. Additionally, if your patent relates to certain fields such as terrorism, renewable energy development, or the quality of the environment, you could also get approval. A government official could always request an application be made special. A regular applicant could participate in an accelerated examination; both of these cases are also grounds for approval. You may or may not have to pay an additional fee depending on your reason(s) for filing the petition.
The prioritized examination program, also known as Track One, will allow you to get your final disposition within a year of filing your patent application. This is a significant reduction of time, and if you need a patent fast, this program can expedite the process for you.
The accelerated examination (AE) program is similar to the prioritized examination program in the sense that it’ll allow you to get your final deposition sooner. On average, most AE applications take about 9 months from the initial filing of your patent application. However, while you will get a quick patent, using this program can be quite expensive. Apart from additional filing fees, you’ll need to conduct a prior art search, prepare an examination support document, and do an examiner interview during this program.
Patent Prosecution Highway
The patent prosecution highway program allows the leveraging of an examination by different jurisdictions. If the examiner finds that your patent application has at least one patentable claim as a result of their prior art search, you can ask the USPTO to accelerate the application process.
Steps You Should Take
Before you rush to the patent office, there are several things you need to do. There is so much that goes into patenting an invention, and even more if you need to expedite the application process. Here is a step-by-step guide to earning a patent.
Start by Hiring a Professional Patent Attorney
You can earn a patent on your own, but if you want to do it quickly, having a professional patent attorney can go a long way. Preparing and filing your patent applications on your own can save you a lot of money. However, when time is of the essence, a professional attorney can be a valuable asset. Apart from the efficiency, a patent attorney will bring in-depth knowledge and experience with the expedited patent programs.
The expensive nature of patent attorneys might tempt you to search for cheaper professional options such as patent agents and invention firms. The problem with these options is that they can be less reliable and less trustworthy. If patent professionals are too costly or risky for you, check out our Learning Center to learn how to search, draft, and file patent applications on your own.
Create a Viable Product for Your Patent
If your inventive concepts are still in the idea phase, you still have a long way to go. A patent application will cost you hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars, and weeks of research. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your inventive concepts are patentable before you start.
If you’re creating a product, having a tangible prototype is always better than thoughts on paper. This will give you a better understanding of how your product is built and how it functions. That knowledge will be very helpful when drafting your patent application. Additionally, a prototype will help you prepare and present a professional appearance for any interviews or demonstrations.
Conduct a Thorough Prior Art Search
Prior art searching might be the most important process of earning a patent. It’s an intricate process, but if you can afford an attorney, you will have several people searching for you. This should speed up the searching process as well as the overall patenting process.
However, you may want to conduct research on your own to avoid paying an attorney. Anyone can perform a prior art search with the help of free databases like Google Patents and Espacenet. Keep in mind, more often than not, you will find out that an idea similar to yours has already been patented. Even so, you can always make modifications to your invention to differentiate it from the prior art, or focus your patent application on the more unique features of your invention.
Apply for the Patent
Now that you have everything ready, how do you quickly prepare and file your patent application? First, you must understand what type of patent to apply for depending on your idea. Then you will be able to get the process started by completing the required application forms. If you have a joint co-inventor, you’ll apply together. Follow these steps to make sure that you have everything covered:
- Pick the right type of patent.
- Complete the required application forms.
- Draft an Abstract, Specification, Claims, and Patent Drawings.
- File your patent application and pay the application fees.
- Wait for a response from the USPTO.
You should only start marketing your invention when your patent is officially pending. Of course, you won’t be protected from infringement during the pending period. However, the patent-pending label will serve as a warning for any potential thieves.
These Are the Steps to Take When You Need a Patent Fast
These are some of the ways you can speed up the patenting process. The programs and methods we discussed can help expedite the process. However, regardless of the route you choose, you should be ready to do a lot of work, and you should know it could be expensive.
If you want to learn more about patents and free resources to guide you through the process, please check out our website today and visit our new Learning Center to learn how to navigate the patent application process on your own.