According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a total of 646,244 patent applications were filed in 2020. A key aspect of filing a patent application is the USPTO notice of allowance, which stipulates that the patent examiner considers your application complete and that it meets the requirements for a patent. However, a notice of allowance is not the same as receiving a patent. After you receive the notice, there are still several steps to be taken. If you are considering filing for a patent or received a USPTO notice of allowance and are not sure what steps you should take, consider reaching out to experienced intellectual property lawyer Robert Sciglimpaglia, Attorney at Law at (203) 663-2803.
The Patent Application Process
Prior to receiving a USPTO notice of allowance, the applicant must first file for a patent - or a grant of property rights of an invention to the creator that prevents others from making or selling their invention for a certain period of time. The three types of patents are utility patents, design patents, and plant patents, with utility patents being the most common type of patent.
When an applicant applies for a patent they must first determine if their invention is patentable and what type of patent applies to their invention. They must then submit a patent application. Patent applications usually include:
⦁ The identity of the inventor.
⦁ A description of the invention, known as a specification.
⦁ The claims, which explains what the invention does and what the patent application is protecting.
⦁ Any relevant drawings and blueprints.
⦁ An oath or declaration verifying that the applicants are, in fact, the inventors.
After a complete application is submitted, a patent examiner examines it and decides whether a patent should be granted.
What The Notice of Allowance Indicates
The USPTO notice of allowance indicates that upon examination, the United States Patent & Trademark Office believes the invention qualifies for a patent. Specifically, the notice of allowance indicates that:
⦁ The USPTO examined the application and approved it.
⦁ The application was published for opposition.
⦁ No third party opposed the registration of the trademark.
After receiving the notice of allowance, the applicant for the patent must take certain steps to receive the patent. These steps can sometimes be confusing, which is why it may be helpful to work with an intellectual property lawyer through the process. Robert Sciglimpaglia, Attorney at Law may be able to guide you on what to do after you receive your USPTO notice of allowance.
The Next Steps After Receiving The Notice of Allowance
Innovation is on the rise in the United States. In 2020, the United States filed 19.3% of all patent applications worldwide, with a growth rate in patent applications of 4.1%, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. If you received a USPTO notice of allowance, then you are part of this growth in innovation.
A notice of allowance is formally known as a Notice of Allowance and Fee(s) Due (Form PTOL-85). It includes what is known as Part B, which stipulates any issue fees and publication fees that are required before the patent is issued. After receiving the notice, the patent for the applicant must take the following steps:
⦁ Sign Part B and return it to the USPTO.
⦁ Pay any required fees.
⦁ Submit any final drawings and other required paperwork associated with the invention.
After all of this is completed, the USPTO will send the patent applicant a notification with the patent’s number and expected issue date - and on that date, the USPTO mails the patent grant. If the patent is a utility patent - the most common type of patent - there will be a requirement to pay maintenance fees throughout the duration of the life of the patent in intervals of three and a half, seven and a half, and eleven and a half years following the patent’s issue.
Timelines Around Patents and Notice of Allowance
It is important to note that the process to issue a patent is not a quick one - it can take several years. Once someone receives a USPTO notice of allowance, however, this indicates that they are nearing the end of the process. It is very rare to receive a notice of allowance after the first patent application -- usually, the USPTO will request several revisions in the application before issuing a notice of allowance.
It is also important to be aware of the deadlines around the notice of allowance. After receiving the notice, the applicant has up to three years to submit the required follow-up documents. However, those three years are broken up into six-month periods - so if the applicant for the patent is not ready to submit the necessary paperwork within six months, they can file for an extension. If the applicant does not file for an extension then the application will be abandoned.
Other Important Considerations
There are several important documents that are associated with the USPTO notice of allowance that, while not relevant to every case, are important to be aware of. One such document is the Corrected Notice of Allowance. This is issued when the original notice of allowance contained an error. The corrected notice corrects these errors. Another document is the Corrected Notice of Allowability: This document notifies the patent applicant that they need to revise some aspects of the application to complete the notice of allowance process. After these are received, the examiner will verify the patent application and issue the notice of allowance. They both fall under the USPTO code of “NOA”, which is also the code associated with the notice of allowance.
How an Experienced Intellectual Property Lawyer Can Help
The process of obtaining a USPTO notice of allowance can be time-consuming and arduous, and even after the notice is issued, it is important to be aware of any associated requirements and deadlines that must be met. An experienced intellectual property lawyer can help you navigate the process and meet these requirements. Robert Sciglimpaglia, Attorney at Law is an experienced intellectual property lawyer and may be able to provide you with the assistance you need. Consider reaching out for a consultation at (203) 663-2803.