- The time from filing a patent to issuance can average between two to six years, but sometimes takes longer
The process of getting a patent, called patent prosecution, is a slow process. After filing the patent application, patent examiners review the claims, look at similar work and see what components, if any, they agree are new and protectable. There are multiple rounds negotiation during which the patent office explains why they are rejecting claims, and the inventor or assignee argues for why the claims should be issued in the patent. This process can take at least two to six years from the date of filing the patent application— and at the end of the process a patent still may not be approved.
Because of this lengthy process, patenting might not be the best option in fast-paced industries because newer solutions might be available by the time the patent is issued. In these cases copyright, know-how, and business advantages like access to customers can be more important.
- Patents require a significant commitment of time and financial resources
In addition to the financial cost of a patent (the average cost, including maintenance fees, i.e., fees necessary to keep the patent in force, is around $25,000), the process of obtaining a patent involves a significant time commitment from the inventors. Inventors provide the initial information that is included in the application, review the application for accuracy, and are heavily involved in the back and forth negotiations with the patent office.