Patent Process

Protecting our clients’ intellectual property is our main objective at Ference & Associates. Our patent attorneys will help you move your idea, design or product from concept to development to commercialization while obtaining and ensuring all of the legal rights to your unique idea.

Obtaining a patent can be time consuming and costly so to help you determine if you’d like to begin the process, a succinct overview of the process is provided below. For first office actions, the total patent pendency time, or time the application is pending or awaiting a decision, is under 15 months. It is under 24 months, on average, for total pendency.


Patent Requirements: Useful, Nonobvious, New

In order to patent your invention, the patent law dictates that the product or process has to be useful (if it works, it’s useful), nonobvious (someone skilled in making the product or process would not have made the change the inventor is suggesting and it is not disclosed anywhere that they should make this change), and new (the invention is not in use any place in the world before the patent application is filed).


Patent Search

A patent search may be done but is not required. If the decision is made to do one, our patent attorneys will work with a number of experts who provide an in-depth search and will review the results with you. A patent search takes 10 days to two weeks.


Application Process

No prototypes are needed to continue the patent application process. Your invention is considered to be constructively invented once you describe it with enough detail, even if you haven’t already created the item.

Photographs, description of the product, invention methods, or processes will be needed for the inventor interview. Patent drawings can be commissioned if necessary. We will then type up the patent application and once you approve the application, we will submit it to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and obtain a filing receipt stating the day it was filed.

It will then take approximately 1.5 to 2 years for a patent examiner to start reviewing your patent application. At that time, an official action will be issued stating if your invention can be patented or not. If it cannot be patented the examiner will explain why. You can argue this and try to defend why your invention is completely different from others.

The Request for Continuing Examination (RCE) continues the process of arguing with the USPTO and it will increase the cost and time in gaining approval.


Patent Issuance

If your invention can be patented, the USPTO will send you a Notice of Allowance that states what claims are allowed. You can also file a Post-Allowance Amendment if further changes are necessary. You’ll then pay the USPTO issue fee ($500 for a small entity and $1000 for a large entity) and the patent will be issued


Contact Us

If you have questions regarding our patent services, please call 412-741-8400 or email to request an appointment to speak with one of our registered patent attorneys.



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