Business owners are frequently inventive individuals who are interested in creating products, processes and services that are truly novel. In the event that they create something new that sets them apart from the competition, they may need to protect their innovation by requesting formal patent safeguards.
Unfortunately, securing a patent is a very time-intensive endeavor. It often takes a long time to craft a patent application and a long time before a submitted application can potentially be approved.
Patent applications can be time-consuming due to several factors inherent to the patent system and the complexities involved in securing patent protection. These are just some of the reasons why patent applications require a significant investment of time and energy:
- The complexity of inventions: Patents are typically sought for complex and innovative inventions. Describing and defining the invention in a clear and precise manner requires thorough analysis and understanding of the technology or process involved. This process can be time-consuming, as it requires translating the invention into detailed technical descriptions and legal language.
- Prior art searches: Conducting a comprehensive prior art search is a crucial step in the patent application process. It involves examining existing patents, publications and other relevant information to determine the novelty and inventiveness of the invention. The search must be meticulous and exhaustive, which can be time-consuming, as it requires reviewing a vast amount of existing literature and patent databases.
- Legal and technical writing: Patent applications must be drafted with precision, including both technical descriptions and legal claims. The application should provide a detailed and accurate description of the invention, its functionality and its potential applications.
- The examination and review process: Once a patent application is submitted, it undergoes a thorough examination by a patent examiner. The examiner assesses the patentability of the invention, reviews the claims and compares the application to prior art. This examination process can be lengthy, as examiners often have substantial workloads and the need to carefully analyze each application.
Given these factors, it is not uncommon for patent applications to take months or even years to navigate through the entire process before a final decision is reached. Seeking legal guidance proactively can help to speed the process along, to the extent that such speed is attainable.