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US Prosecution Timeline

April 25, 2015

            A common question that our potential clients and clients ask us is how long will it take to prosecute a U.S. patent application.  The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, such as the technology to be patented, and the art unit to which the application is assigned.  According to the USPTO's Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2014, the average pending time to the first Office Action is 18.4 months and the average total pending time is 27.4 months.

            Additionally, our clients often ask us when an event will occur during the prosecution of their U.S. patent application.  The following chart is a rough guide hitting on some of the major events in a patent prosecution, and starts from either the filing of a provisional patent application or a non-provisional patent application.




Event                                                               Relative Date based                            Relative Date based                                                                           filing of provisional                                on filing of non-                                                                                 patent application                                provisional patent                                                                                                                                              application.        


File US provisional patent application        start                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


File US non-provisional utility patent         1 year after prov. app.                           start          application, or File PCT application              is filed                                               



US non-provisional utility patent                18 months after prov.                       18 months after non-application, and PCT application are          app. is filed                                          prov. app. is filed       published           



First US Office Action                                  30.4 months after prov.                      18.4 months after                                                                               app. is filed                                         non-prov. app. is filed.    


File PCT national applications in                30 or 31 months after                    30 or 31 months            foreign countries                                          prov. app. is filed –                          after non-prov. app.                                                                               depending on the                            is filed- depending                                                                                 country                                              on the country



updated first and second paragraphs on 4/25/15





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