Issued Patent in 76 Days

Posted Sunday, March 01, 2009 by Jim Ruttler.

The quickest patent issued in 2008 was in 76 days (U.S. Patent No. 7,408,364). Patent applications typically take at least a couple of years before examination even begins, so less than three months from filing to allowance is truly remarkable. Such an astonishingly quick turnaround time was achieved using the accelerated examination process, which was newly introduced in the past couple of years. This accelerated examination process requires the normal patent application plus a complete documented prior art search and detailed analysis showing how the claims of the patent application are new over the prior art. The general attitude among patent attorneys has been that the quick turnaround time is not worth the risks of having to make admissions regarding the elements of the invention that are not new and of having to warrant that a full and complete search was conducted. I’ve also experienced difficulty with the patent office rejecting searches as not sufficiently exhaustive and have not personally considered the accelerated application process as a viable alternative to regular examination. Clearly, however, with such a short time frame from filing to allowance, with some inventions these risks may be worth the opportunity to have an enforceable patent before most applicants receive a notice to file missing parts.

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