The Patent Process
The patent process is lengthy and requires a number of steps.
Provisional Patent Application
Expires one year after file date
AzTE will work with you to draft a provisional patent application. The provisional application will not be examined and will expire after one year. We will work with you and any co-inventors to draft as robust an application as possible. During this time we will market your technology to see whether or not there is any commercial interest.
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Application
Expires 18 months after file date (in most cases)
This is a temporary patent application process that preserves your right to file foreign patent applications in countries that participate in the treaty with a few exceptions (Taiwan being the most notable). The application is examined and a search report is provided which includes a general opinion about the patentability of the invention; this report informs the decision to file any national-phase patent applications. The PCT application will not issue as a patent (and, there is no such thing as an international patent).
Foreign Patent Applications
As a general rule AzTE will not file in foreign countries unless we find that there is a significant market for your invention in that country or there is a potential licensee.
Utility Patent Application (US)
Can also be referred to as a National Phase or Non-Provisional application
We will work with our attorneys, you and your co-inventors to incorporate any additional material into the nonprovisional patent application. This application is examined by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).
Invention Disclosure Statement (IDS)
Due after a non-provisional patent is filed
This refers to a submission of background art or information that may be relevant to the patentability of your invention.
Due 2 months after mail date, four 1 month extensions are available but there is a late fee assessed every month after the second month
A restriction requirement will be issued when the examiner determines that the application claims two or more independent inventions.
Non-Final Office Action
Due 3 months after mail date, three 1 month extensions are available but there are increasing late fees assessed for every month after the third month
A NON-Final office action is an official communication from the examiner and gives reasons why the examiner has allowed and/or rejected the claims. Often our team along with the attorney working on your case will contact you to assist with overcoming any objections that were raised.
Final Office Action
Due 2 months after mail date, four 1 month extensions are available but there are increasing late fees assessed for every month after the third month.
A FINAL office action means the examiner did not find the response to your non-final office action persuasive and is maintaining their rejection(s) or has found new grounds for rejecting the claims. Often our team along with the attorney working on your case will contact you to assist with overcoming these objections.
Notice of Allowance
Response and payment due 3 month after mail date, NO EXTENSIONS
A notice of allowance is an official communication that lets us know which claims have been allowed to issue as a U.S. Patent. At this time we may ask for your input about filing any additional applications around the claims that were not allowed.