What happens after filing a utility patent application?

The initial steps that the USPTO takes are similar to what it does for the PPA.  Here’s a brief overview of the process:

  1. The USPTO receives your application and catalogs it.
  2. It sends you a filing receipt. If you send it via regular mail, this is mailed to you if everything is in order.  If you file electronically, a print-out that acknowledges receipt is available after you hit the “submit” button.  

The filing receipt includes information such as the inventor(s)’s names, invention’s title, which patent examining group will analyze your application, filing date, application’s serial number and the number of claims you are asserting.  If there is anything incorrect here, you should send or fax a letter to the USPTO’s Application Branch. (k:  this applicable to PPAs, too?)

  1. For a utility patent application, a patent examiner will also look at the claims in the application.  He/she will determine whether you qualify for a patent and if you do, what its scope should be.

If the patent examiner rejects any claims, you and your lawyer should look at why this occurred and submit an amendment, responding to the rejection.

  1. The patent examiner analyzes the amendment and either changes it to a Notice of Allowance, which is a patent application approval, or issues a final rejection of the claim.  Learn more about Noice of Allowance and How to Handle Notice Of Allowance