The patent journey can in rare cases only take a few months but normally takes years and involves multiple stages from the initial filing and examination process, to the approval, grant and eventual lapse of the patent.
At the beginning, once your attorney agrees that your idea is patentable, a patent specification will need to be created around your idea that can be filed in a patent office. This can take up to two to four weeks to turn around, and between 8 to 30 hours of your attorney’s time depending on the complexity and novelty of the idea.
Filing a patent involves meeting with the inventors and stakeholders and agreeing on the specific features that need protecting and can be patented. It is also the stage where we discuss what variations would be accepted should any areas of the claims be challenged, which means looking at the ‘abstractions’ or modifications that the inventors might make, and calculating how these changes might themselves be protected.
We often call this process the ‘crystal ball stage’, as it demands considerable expertise and experience to anticipate how your competition might plan to ‘circumvent the patent’. To prevent this happening and ensure your business investment, IP attorneys have to consider every possible loop hole and take this step very seriously.
Finally, when everyone is comfortable with the design and patentability, the next step is to get the patent granted in all the necessary countries. However, depending on the country and difficulty of patent (i.e. how novel or inventive the technology is), the grant approval process could take between 3 to 8 years.
That said, in special circumstances it is possible to accelerate a patent application to within 3 months, for example if there is risk of infringement or if an inventor is on death’s doorstep!
CreateIP can evaluate this option if needed, and advise the best patent journey.