Many inventors, who commence alone during the entire procedure of filing a patent application, may not be aware about the effective steps to be followed after they file their application at the USPTO office. However, in order to make them aware here are some effective steps and procedures that can help them to elaborate their knowledge about the further actions to be taken. Once you file a patent application, you can now claim that you have patent pending on your invention. You will generally be provided with a filing receipt along with a serial number for your patent application. This serial number can be important if you are filing a PCT or an international patent application as a part of your plan.
The USPTO reviews your application for completeness and if they find anything missing, they may send you a notice of omitted parts. Some of the common things that usually go missing in these applications are declaration or oaths, certain pages of the application, drawings and models of the invention or a certain amount of fee that has not been paid. Once the application is refilled along with the omitted items, the patent application waits in the queue for its turn to be examined. It typically takes about two to three years to hear from the USPTO, unless the application qualifies for accelerated examination. Further, the application is scheduled to be published from the date of filing of the first patent application such as a provisional application.
After the examination of the application, a non-final office action is commenced which will typically list the claims that are pending and indicate which of the claims have been allowed and approved. The applicant is further given three months to respond and has to address every rejection either by making changes to the rejected claims by providing legal arguments of why the rejection is not valid or both. Once the examiner finds that the applicant has overcome the rejections, the examiner issues a notice of allowance wherein the applicant would be given a duration of six months to pay the issue fee. Once the issue fee is received, a certificate of patent will be granted and mailed to the applicant.
During the entire duration, from the time of filing an application till the time of receiving a certificate of paten, the applicant can start the marketing of their invention by using the term patent pending on the product. It is quite mandatory to use this term as it refers to a warning that inventors are entitled to use in reference to their product or processes once an application has been files at the USPTO. The marking basically serves to notify the infringers who would copy the invention that they may be liable for damages, seizure and injunction.