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Written by : Alec Benestad
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100 you've reached the finish line and you've got your patent granted Congrats now how long is it good for when do they expire well did you know that patents once they're awarded can protect you for 20 years and design patents for 15 but did you know that you could make them last even longer with building a patent portfolio with continuation patent applications yes longer than 20 years hello everyone my name is JB Hooven ER USPTO patent attorney and I'm the managing partner at CEO at bold patents law firm today I'll be talking about how long patent rights last when they expire and how to extend the life of your patent with a little secret of mine with continuations so today I'll be sharing with you and helping you understand how long patents are good for and if you stick around to the end I'll be sharing that secret of how to extend patents beyond that 20 years in the details below you'll see a description of a bit of a timeline to jump forward in the video to a certain spot that you want to move toward so first up utility patents what is a utility patent let's talk about that really quick all right utility patents generate productivity these are inventions that give you value right functional benefit right if you think about you know the iPhone okay it's got utility in terms of its helping you be more efficient it's helping us conduct business or talk to people around the world using a cellular device that's in a certain form and function it's giving you benefits huge benefits and utility on the other side a design just protects what it looks like just the ornamentation the aesthetic appeal of that invention not what it does okay and for most valuable inventions you need both let's go back to the iPhone which I love coming back to the shape the fact that it has a button position at the bottom right that's a design of the overall phone that's a separate protection then the utility patent that reside in what it does right the buttons you push apps all the functionality of the system the design is the actual three-dimensional product that you're holding that's the difference so let's go back to utility patents okay so the functional benefit okay let's think about those patents they are awarded with 20 years of monopoly right monopoly is a powerful word but it's true going way back to the Constitution article 1 section 8 Clause 8 says that for inventors that have new and useful inventions the government will give you 20 years of limited protection which meaning the government will go to bat for you and help you in federal court make sure that you are the only one able to make use sell or import your invention in the US of A alright that's a big deal so back in the Constitution those founding fathers thought it was that important to be able to get people's attention right to incentivize inventors to get come out of the Woodworks and share their brains with the rest of us that's the whole system that's why utility tons are given that extra five years because we think that there needs to be that full explanation that bigger reward for telling us how you built it right how we're supposed to make this invention design patents don't get a little don't get too much less than 15 years is a good chunk of time don't get me wrong but those are just more limited right the actual disclosure in a design patent it's just a drawing right it's just the drawing it's a very simple clause it says I claim the drawings as shown below that's truly all the design patents say in words it's all about the drawings now you ask how long did they last as I said utility is 20 years design is 15 years but for interesting cases right for those inventors and business owners that are looking to get beyond that 20 year mark there are some secrets okay the first secret I'll share with you is that in utility filings and even design filings there are certain parts of the invention right this whole invention about how it's going to market that are kept as trade secrets a classic example is a company an aerospace company that manufactures air Planes okay huge monolithic wings that are made of carbon fiber and they're assembled using complex tools and equipment and processes that are patented you bet right how to how to create that curvature how to add those layers in but they don't tell you for example how long to heat it or at what radius or at what degree specifically you heat it right there's just enough that's disclosed in that patent but trade secret just kept within the company now there is the second way this is a major way to get additional time for your invention is to file a continuation application when your parent what's called a parent application is filed you have until that parent gets issued the opportunity to file a continuation or what's called a continuation in part ok contusion part is when you've got a bell or a whistle or new improvement to your core patent invention and you want to try to protect that improvement that is a wonderful opportunity to file that continuation that'll take on a life of its own and you guessed it a term of its own and it will go beyond that twenty years when the parent expires the child patent will continue on and get you additional protection for your overall invention so for more about continuations please read our blog article click the link below to get your free book on bold ideas the inventors guide to patents and schedule a free 30-minute consult if you're ready to move forward at bold IP com thanks a lot and have a great day
Thanks for your comment Michel Petriccione, have a nice day.
- Alec Benestad, Staff Member
how long does it take to get a patent the answer surprises most people so stick around and this video is going to give you all the answers to the questions about the time it takes to get an issued patent and the variability of it so if you're new here my name is dylan adams i am a patent attorney and author of the best-selling book patents demystified which is an insider's guide to protecting ideas and inventions used by inventors entrepreneurs and startups worldwide including at top universities like harvard stanford and mit you might also recognize me from my appearance on cnbc's hit show the profit with marcus lemonis so this channel is all about giving you the insider tips that i use with my clients every day whether they be fortune 100 companies startups or even shark tank businesses to help them protect their ideas and inventions so subscribe the channel if you want more on startups and patents and click the little bell icon to get notified when new videos come out alright let's get right into it so the short answer is it takes a long time and specifically it can take years to get an issued patent from when you first file your initial patent application and i'm going to share you with you in this video sort of the process of how long it takes and why it takes so long but also why it's not that big of a deal that takes so long and if anything it's actually a good thing so stick around to the end where i get into those secrets about the length of time not necessarily being a bad thing so let's first start off with the patent process and generally what that is and where the time comes into it so first let's start off with the two ways to start the patent process one is to file what is called a non-provisional patent application and that's the application that actually matures into an issued patent you file that application at the united states patent trademark office and it waits in line for anywhere from one to three years and why is that well it's just because it's the federal government they have a huge backlog of patent applications that they need to go through and so before examination even begins it can be one to three years depending on the type of technology when patent applications are filed they're assigned to what's called an art unit and the different art units they will do examination on different types of technology some of the art units are really backed up like things like computers you know those things tend to take a lot longer they can be sometimes in more like the three-year range whereas other technology areas aren't as busy and you know maybe it's going to examination only begins after a year you know maybe even less or you know definitely less than the the three-year mark so one to three years goes by after you file the non-provisional patent application and then the examination process begins and what happens there is the bad examiner is going to do a prior our search to determine whether the invention as claimed is new and non-obvious over the prior art and prior can really be any sort of technology disclosure most of the time this is going to be issued patents or published patent applications but really it can be any sort of technology disclosure could be websites blog posts videos actual products in a catalog scientific journal papers really any technologies closure could be used as priority as long as it was in existence before you filed your patent application so the patent examiner does this prior art search and then will create rejections against the application and mail them to you in what's called an office action and then you have you know typically it's going to be three months to respond this office action it can be up to six months to respond and then once you respond it can take a long time before the patent examiner then review the offs action maybe do another prior art search and then typically we'll come back with more rejections after doing another prior art search so when from when examination begins to filing your first office action you know you can do that quickly but typically it's going to be in the range of months before you actually file that response and then it can be months or you know sometimes years before the examiner will actually get back to you after you respond to an office action so this back and forth can go really indefinitely as long as you're willing to fight the rejections and pay money and things like that it can go on for years upon years upon years but typically you're going to go back and forth with examiner i would say on average two to three times that's pretty typical sometimes you get lucky and the examination and the application is allowed immediately that's pretty rare but you know sometimes you know the on on the on the other side is you have to battle out with the examiner and you can go back and forth you know six seven eight times which takes a long long time so when the examination process begins it can be years upon year sometimes before you start examination to when you convince the examiner what you have is new and non-obvious depends on how many times it goes back and forth and sometimes there's delay at the patent office you get an example examiner who maybe goes on vacation or loses your file or just is really backed up and it takes a long time for them to to get to your stuff i've had patent applications be in examination for close to 10 years um you know but you know a lot of times it's not that long but i would say on average you know it's going to be a few years it's going to be at least a couple years you know sometimes three years depending on how much you have to go back back and forth with the examiner so that was the first way to start the patent process which is again what's called the non-provisional patent application but for most startups and what i think is a great way to start the patent process is actually what is called a provisional patent application so the provisional patent application process you file a provisional it lasts for one year and then the provisional patent application expires after that year that term can't be extended and you have to file the non-provisional before the provisional expires so the provisional doing the provisional which again is what i recommend typically for any startup and and most businesses that's going to add another year to the patent process and probably what you're asking yourself and what most people think is well that's crazy i want to get a patent as soon as possible that's what's most important i need to have an issued patent and some people think that well before i even start selling my product or before i start talking to investors or doing anything with my business i need to have an issued patent and that is one of the biggest mistakes that startups make is thinking that i need to have an issued patent at hand that is absolutely untrue and what i'll tell you is some of my most successful clients and in fact the most successful clients that i have they are able to get substantial traction with their business whether that be sometimes selling the company or licensing the idea or you
Thanks Winfred your participation is very much appreciated
- Alec Benestad
About the author
I've studied economic sector at Pillar College in Newark and I am an expert in norwegian history. I usually feel blissful. My previous job was pathologist (md) I held this position for 12 years, I love talking about netball and cajon drum. Huge fan of Stephen 'Twitch' Boss I practice balance beam and collect sports memorabilia.
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