FAQ & Resources

FAQ

Is my invention patentable?
A patentable invention must be new (“novel”), useful, and not merely an obvious improvement of existing technology. In addition, any public disclosure of the invention (e.g. trade show, conference, marketing information) starts a one-year grace period in which to submit a patent application in the United States. Contact me to discuss the specifics of your invention.
What is a patent agent?
Patent agents have a technical background and have met rigorous standards qualifying them to prosecute patent applications before the USPTO. In all patent related dealings with the USPTO, patent agents are recognized as having equivalent qualifications as patent attorneys. Patent agents often have years of experience working in a technical field. Their services may be more affordable for a small business or individual than those of a legal firm.
How long does it take to obtain a patent?
After applying for your patent, it enters an examination queue at the USPTO. Generally, a first response (office action) on the merits is received within 1.5-2.5 years. A series of applicant and office responses typically follows. As of the end of 2012, average times from application filing to issue were about 3.5 years.

What are the fees?

After an initial consultation, I will provide you with a firm fixed price quotation to prepare your application. The USPTO collects the following basic fees:

  • Filing fees, at the time of application submission
  • Issue fees, when a patent is allowed
  • Periodic maintenance fees, to keep a patent in force after 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years
  • Some fees are reduced for small or micro entities
  • Current USPTO Fee Schedule
When can I use 'Patent Pending' markings?
When a patent application has been filed, an invention may be marked ‘Patent Pending’ even if the application has not been examined or published. Inventions covered by a provisional patent application may also qualify as patent pending.
What is the 'First Inventor to File' rule?
In 2013 the United States changed from a “First to Invent” to a “First Inventor to File” system. To protect your IP, it is now even more important to file your patent application quickly, especially if you have publicly disclosed your invention in any way. Read more at the USPTO website.
What are micro and small entity?
Micro Entity: The USPTO recently created this new inventor status to encourage innovation by giving a 75% discount on many patent fees to individuals or small businesses who qualify based on income limits and number of previous patents. Find out if you qualify.
Small Entity: A 50% discount is available to many individuals and small business who do not qualify as micro entity, if the invention is not licensed to a large business.

Resources