The application for patent usually begins with disclosing the invention face-to-face to a patent attorney, patent agent or patent practitioner. A patent agent talks to the inventors in order to acquire understanding and know the technical nature of the invention. The patent agent examines thoroughly the invention’s novelty and identify on what field does the invention fits in. A patent attorney conducts patent proceedings in the courts or performs services which are considered by the local authority as practicing law.
They help the applicants to obtain patents and act in all matters and procedures concerning patent law and practice. Upon the completion of the requirements for patent, the application is then sent to the USPTO. The date that the application is received by the office is called the “filing date”. The application can be sent by regular mail, express mail or by electronic filing system. Filing by the regular mail is the simplest way of filing a patent. The filing date is the date the application is received by the USPTO mail room.
Meanwhile, the application can also be filed using the express mail service of the US Postal Service. Filing the application through express mail is advantageous since the application can be received earlier and the filing date of the application is the day when the USPS received the application. After the application is received, the invention is classified to by field or art area and then sends to an examiner for review and examination. The examiner will then notify the applicant of his decisions through the office action which is usually sent to the patent attorney or agent.
The examiner may reject the claims and specifications in the application. The applicant can oppose or object on the errors in the examiner’s office action by filing an amendment. An amendment may include alterations in the claims and specifications and technical arguments against the office action. The examiner may respond to the amendment made by the applicant through another office action and may be made final; otherwise the applicant can still file an amendment. When all the legal issues are fixed and all the claims are allowable, the applicant will be issued a Notice of Allowance for the allowable claim.
The applicant will then pay the issue fee required for the issuance of patent. Upon paying the fee, the Office will prepare the issuance of the patent and its publication. The invention will then have an patent number and it will be published in the official gazette of the USPTO. Infringement of patents involves unauthorized use, distribution, or trade of any patented invention within the US territories as well as importing the patented inventions during the term of the patent. Infringement can be classified as direct, indirect, or contributory.
Direct infringement can be done by directly using, making or selling a patented invention or creation. Indirect infringement can be committed by encouraging someone to make, use, or sell a patented invention. Meanwhile, contributory infringement can be done by deliberately distributing or selling stuff which has association with patented inventions. Intellectual property is a broad and wide-ranging scope. It is one of the most significant legal fields in the US since it is considered as an integral part in developing a society.
Infringement of patented inventions can be considered as an obstruction in developing the society’s culture and economy as well as a threat in the safety and health of the society. Patenting is not only important to the inventors and creators but also in the society as a whole. On the average patent, an invention will wait for more than 2 years before it will be granted a patent. The inventor will be notified by the USPTO of the application number and the official filing date eight weeks after filing (through mail). Meanwhile, if the application is sent through electronic system, the applicant will just wait for several minutes.
- Greenspan, Alan. “Remarks by Alan Greenspan”. February 2004. The Federal Reserve Board. 10 April 2008 <http://www. federalreserve. gov/boarddocs/testimony/2005/200506092/default. htm>.
- Wayne, E. Anthony. “Focus on Intellectual Property Rights”. January 2006. International Information Programs. 9 April 2008 <http://usinfo. state. gov/products/pubs/intelprp/protecting. htm>.
- Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). October 2007. United States Patent and Trademark Office. 9 April 2008 <https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/organizational-offices/office-commissioner-patents/office-deputy-commissioner-patent-1>.