Lawyers and Settlements

Intellectual Property: Patents

STEP 6: Issuance of the Patent

After the "notice of allowance" is issued, an "issue fee" must be paid. About three or four months after payment of the final fee, the patent issues. From filing to issue, the average time a patent application is pending is about 2-3 years.

By long tradition, patents are always issued on a Tuesday. Also on Tuesday of each week, the Office publishes the 0fficial Gazette abstracting all of the patents issued on that day, and on the following Thursday the patents are posted on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website along with the other 6,300,000 plus patents already issued since 1790. Patents are issued in numerical order, currently at the rate of about 2200 utility patents per week.

The original of the patent will be sent to the lawyer who then either forwards it to the inventor or his assignee or who keeps it in safe storage for the inventor. Additional copies of the patent may be obtained from the Office for a fee, but the original patent is an important document that should be kept with other valuable papers.

The issuance of a U.S. patent puts the inventor in the company of Edison, Ford, and the Wright brothers, and other inventors who have held U.S. patents for their inventions and is an occasion that rightfully brings respect and admiration to the inventor. At the same time, the public benefits by having the inventor's disclosure of his new and useful discovery.

Most importantly, however, the issuance of the patent makes the claims immediately effective in the USA. Patent applications filed after November 19,2000 are published 18 months after their filing date unless a request for non-publication stating the application has not been and will not be filed outside the USA is submitted in a timely manner. If publication has occurred prior to issuance, the issuance allows the patentee the right to collect a reasonable royalty from an infringer of any claim of the patent which would also infringe a claim of the published patent application.

Information on this page was supplied with permission of Bruce E. Burdick.

Patents | Exploitation of Patents