A question we hear often is, “Don’t I have to wait until my patent issues to_________?”  The blank is usually filled in with such items as “raise capital”, “license my invention”, or “disclose my invention to others.”  In each case, the answer is an emphatic “NO”.  And it’s a good thing, too, since the time it takes to actually get a patent is now longer than ever.

This chart tells the story:

Patent Pendency

Since 1991, the time to get a patent after filing, has, on average, increased from 18 months to over 33 months.  If it were true that inventors had to wait for the Patent Office, then most would never start a business or invest in research and development.

The fact is, that once you file a patent application, your rights are protected under both United States law and the treaties that govern international patent rights, provided that you continue to take the right steps to file your patent applications and respond to requests from the Patent Office and foreign agencies.  You may sell your invention, license it to others, disclose it, publicize it, raise funds for your venture, and so on, because you have already taken the correct steps to protect your intellectual property rights.  Simply put, you do not need to wait for the Patent Office to issue your patent.

If you have questions about patent filing, or about what you should not do prior to filing, please do not hesitate to call us.

— Robert J. Yarbrough, Esq.