How Long Does It Take to Patent Software?
How long does it take to patent software? That’s a question many developers have. The average wait time for a patent in the US is around 21 months. However, there are certain conditions that can speed up the process. For example, you might be able to request an accelerated review of your application. But even then, the process can take a few more months if there are multiple issues.
Wait time to obtain a patent in the US is about 21 months
While the average wait time for a patent in the US is about 21 to 32 months, it can be much longer. Whether or not a patent will be issued quickly depends on the technology and how many applicants have filed the application. Fortunately, there are ways to speed up the process. One way is to submit an expedited application. These applications are usually screened faster than those that are filed without proper research.
Currently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is working to reduce this wait time by about half. As a result, more people are leaving the US patent office than joining it. In the last fiscal year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hired 1,215 additional examiners to fill the shortage. Now, the USPTO is estimated to have about 5,400-5500 examiners.
If you are a sole inventor, you can file pro se and complete the patent application process on your own. The USPTO recognizes that legal assistance is prohibitively expensive for many people. They run a Pro Se Assistance Program for small businesses and independent inventors. However, it is important to hire a lawyer who knows how to pump the brakes in a cost-effective manner.
A US patent will last up to 20 years, depending on the type of product it covers. Utility patents last for 20 years. Design patents are generally issued for 15 years. This time period is subject to changes in the terms of the patent. If your patent is granted, you’ll have 4 months to respond to the office action. However, the process can be longer if your product is commercialized.
Priority status will speed up the process. You can file an application for priority status and wait for a final decision within 12 months. The USPTO is a fee-funded organization, so you’ll need to pay an additional fee to get priority status. The fee varies depending on the size of your entity. A micro entity can file for a patent for as little as $1000, while a regular entity will pay double or more.
Cost of obtaining a patent in the US is high
Patent attorneys can be expensive. Depending on the complexity of the application, fees for patent attorneys can range anywhere from $5,500 to $12,000 or more. The average price is around $50,000 for “high technology” inventions. If you’re unsure of how much your patent will cost, consult a patent attorney to determine the best course of action. If you can’t afford an attorney, consider hiring someone with experience in patent law. You can hire a patent attorney to do the research, writing, and filing for you. But choosing a patent attorney can be a difficult task.
The cost of obtaining a patent in the US varies depending on your invention and the type of patent application you file. Check the USPTO website for fees and other costs related to patent filing. However, you can attempt to complete the patent process yourself for a lower cost. But keep in mind that you will need to be meticulous in recording your invention details. Even if you choose to hire a patent attorney, you may end up spending hours filing documents.
The cost of utility patent applications tend to be the most expensive and difficult to obtain. The patent filing fee is $320 undiscounted, while the fee for micro and small entities is $80. Additionally, there are additional fees for patent search and examination. If your application is rejected on its first review, expect to spend between $3500 and $4500 to respond. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may have to respond to a rejection multiple times.
If you are wondering how much it will cost to obtain a patent in the US, you should consider hiring a patent attorney. Patent attorneys have experience in patent filing and can provide a full cost breakdown. During your initial consultation, you and your patent attorney can discuss your invention and how much it will cost. A good patent attorney can increase your chances of getting your patent approved by submitting a properly written application.
Although the cost of obtaining a patent in the US may seem high, it’s far less than other countries. A US patent can cost upward of $60,000 when filed on a PCT. While filing a PCT application internationally is costly, you’ll be able to claim 300 million people under a single application. However, the cost of filing a PCT application abroad is much higher – annual annuities can cost upwards of $1000 per country.
The cost of obtaining a patent in the US varies depending on the complexity of the invention and the field in which it belongs. For example, in 2013 Kodak sold 1000 digital photography patents for $500K each. Google acquired 17,000 Motorola patents for the same price. Meanwhile, Microsoft paid $1.2M per patent for 800 AOL patents. And Facebook bought several hundred patents from Microsoft for $1M each. So the costs for a patent can go up a lot, especially if you have a very high-value invention.
Common reasons why a patent is not granted quickly
A popular example of software that’s unlikely to be granted a patent quickly is a program that gathers data and manipulates it. Although the specific implementation methods are often obvious, patent applications can be surprisingly opaque because of the way the boundaries are defined. Nevertheless, software patents are still worth filing if they’re capable of protecting obvious methods. These techniques are not particularly novel, but they may be patented.
Software patents are also notoriously difficult to obtain, partly because the Patent Office has no standardized system to categorize them. Rather, patents for software are classified based on the end results of the program they cover. That means a program that analyzes human speech may infringe on a Fast Fourier Transform patent because the program uses symbolic algebra. Without a standardized system for categorization, searching for a relevant patent would be nearly impossible.
Another reason why software patents take so long to be granted is that software lifecycles usually end before a patent is issued. A patent’s lifecycle can be as short as four years. As a result, by the time the patent decision is made, the software will already have become outdated. This means the patent-eligible innovations may not be of any value. This is a problem for both software developers and patent seekers.
The patent system does not prioritize software over other fields. While computer programming and hardware have many important differences, the patent system would stifle the software industry if it continued to grant patents on obvious ideas. Further, the “written description” requirement can invalidate a software patent because many of these are abstract ideas rather than specific methods. However, computer engineers believe that the software patent process is still the best way to protect new ideas.
The system itself is flawed. Patent laws differ from those for other types of innovations, and software patents may take several years to be approved. In general, software innovation comes from solving problems as developers create it, and not from the patenting of the actual software itself. As a result, the system itself is not capable of protecting software innovations. In fact, patents may actually cause more harm than good.
Because software inventions don’t become outdated very quickly, they may be subject to patents for decades. Many companies pay patent trolls and then abandon them midway, causing the company to continue to spend money on litigation. The result? Patents for software are a highly effective way to dispose of outdated inventions. In addition to protecting new technologies, patents can help bolster the legal department at a company.
There are also other reasons why a software patent is unlikely to be granted quickly. For instance, some critics argue that software inventions are inferior to non-software inventions. However, these arguments don’t hold up when examining the requirements for patentability. In short, the law doesn’t discriminate against software inventors, and it would have disastrous consequences. After all, software is the engine of innovation and a vital contributor to economic progress.