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Patent Prosecution Attorneys in Dallas-Fort Worth
Helping You Apply for Patents
Americans are innovative people, coming up with new and better products and processes all the time. This June 19, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued its ten millionth patent. People who do not understand the U.S. patent application process – referred to as “patent prosecution” by patent attorneys and others in the field – risk losing the value of their inventions or infringing on an existing patent.
At Norred Law, we have helped countless clients through the patent prosecution process. We are passionate about seeing our clients’ ideas come to life and bring them success. Our clientele includes residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, throughout Texas, and across the United States.
Protecting Your Patent Rights
Of the three major IP protections — patents, trademarks, and copyrights — protecting patents is the most important, the most complicated, and the most costly. Fortunately for you, our firm works with patents in almost every industry, including electronic and biomedical products, consumer products, and oilfields. Whenever good ideas can be turned into inventions, we stand ready to assist.
Navigating the Patent Prosecution Process – Patent Search, Patent Application, And Patent Office Actions
The process of seeking a patent is called “patent prosecution” and can be performed by anyone – no attorney is required. However, laymen who have never sought a patent are well advised to hire representation. If an idea really is worth millions of dollars, then skimping on attorney fees and filing your own patent application cannot be considered a wise move. The process is difficult even for those who file patent applications for a living.
And beware of invention promotion businesses - infomercials on late-night television inviting you to submit your idea to an invention promotion organization are required to comply with federal laws that reveal their success (or failure) rate.
Treat your invention with the respect it deserves by hiring a patent attorney in Dallas-Fort Worth to assist you. Patent prosecution of a U.S.-issued patent begins with a patent consultation.
From there, you will need to:
- Perform a patent search
- File a patent application
- Respond to office actions by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
- Make adjustments and pay the issue fee
There are additional steps to file for patent rights in other countries, but the process described above is for U.S. filing only.
The Patent Consultation
At Norred Law, we start with a consultation. During this consultation, we try to get a good handle on the nature of your invention; ascertain that the invention is ready to be patented; and determine whether the invention should be protected by use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty in an international process or the usual process before the United States Patent & Trademark Office.
Our Dallas-Fort Worth patent attorneys will also go over the patent process and provide a written contract for you to evaluate. All work with our clients is governed by a written contract that outlines all of the expected expenses for the prosecution of the patent, from the application filing to the issue fee at the end of a successful prosecution.
The Patent Search
At Norred Law, the first step of patent prosecution is almost always a patent search.
It is important to conduct a patent search to:
- Ensure that we aren’t wasting your money
- Ensure that you are not infringing existing patents
- Write a better patent application
The result of a patent search is typically a two- or three-page letter that provides the keywords and results of our search. In this letter, we generally provide a “Freedom to Operate” opinion and our opinion on whether the patent prosecution process will be successful.
Filing the Patent Application
Assuming that the patent search provides a reasonable chance of success and a client wishes to continue, our firm then has to have all the details of the invention, including all drawings and bill of materials.
A patent application has several elements, including:
To file at the least expensive level, an applicant must include a certification regarding entity size. Additionally, every application must be classified by subject matter – utility, design, or plant.
Provisional or Non-Provisional Patents
Patent applications can be provisional or non-provisional. Provisional patents are temporary place-holders that establish a date of invention and keep your place in line at the patent office. However, most provisional patents are not sufficient to perform the task, as they rarely have the full disclosure that is required.
You will have a “patent pending” from the point that the patent application is filed and should indicate as much on your products.
Responding to Patent Office Actions
After the application is filed, the Patent Office will take two to three years to respond, unless we file the application under an expedited program.
We are happy to update you on the expected time for the Office to respond, based on the number of patent applications in the category of applications before yours.
Applications are typically published for all the world to see at 18 months after filing. However, applicants can request either an early publishing date or to refrain from publishing the patent application until it issues. These are strategic decisions that you must make depending on your specific situation.
Eventually, the Patent Office issues what we refer to as the First Office Action, so designated because it is the first reaction from the Patent Office. You can expect movement on the application more quickly from that time. At this point, we respond to the First Office Action and maintain communication until we eventually receive a Final Rejection or a Notice of Allowance.
Patent Rejections & Allowances
After a Final Rejection, you can abandon the effort, file a Request for Continued Examination (RCE), or appeal the rejection. Applicants making money on their invention will tend to file an RCE, which gives the applicant additional opportunities to convince the Patent Office to give them a Notice of Allowance. Applicants not making money tend to abandon the endeavor. Appeals are rarer and cost more.
If the Patent Office issues a Notice of Allowance, you will have two months to pay an issue fee. You may also need to formalize a drawing or make minor changes in the claims to satisfy the Patent Office. The total is usually less than $1000 to complete the process.
At Norred Law, our Dallas-Fort Worth patent attorneys think there are few things more enjoyable than presenting a new patent to an inventor. Let us help you protect your patent so that you can relax during your patent processing experience.
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