How long does it take to get a patent, is one of the most daunting questions every patent applicant has. Irrespective of how simple the question appears to be, the answer to this is anything but straightforward.
The time required to get a patent depends on various factors, some of which are:
The country in which the patent application has been filed
The time required to get a patent depends on the ratio of number of patent examiners to the number of patent application received by the respective patent office, and each country might have a different ratio. Additionally, each patent office might have certain number of backlogs to clear, which can affect the time required to get a patent. Further, some countries allow the patent applicants to defer examination until a predefined time. India for instance allows applicants to defer application until 48 months from priority date of the patent application.
The field of technology to which the patent application relates
It may be noted that the number of patent applications received by a patent office in certain technology fields can be more compared to a few other technology areas. Further, each patent office has patent examiners designated to examine patent applications in their respective field of expertise. Hence, the time required to get a patent varies based on the density of patent application filing in a given technology field and the number of patent examiners designated to examine patent applications in that field.
Steps taken to expedite the patenting process
Most patent offices provide provisions to expedite the patenting process. However, the applicant might have to bear certain expenses to avail such provisions. Hence, the time required to get a patent also depends on whether or not you avail such provisions.
As can be comprehended from the above discussion, there are various factors, most of which are uncertain, that have to be considered to determine the time required to get a patent. Hence, instead of trying to deal with such factors, we have taken a statistical approach to provide an insight on the probable time required to get a patent.
This study was carried out using 687856 data points, and it attempts to provide insight on the following:
- Trend – Time required for getting a patent based on the country
- Trend – Time required for getting a patent based on the field of technology in each country
This study was carried out using patents that were granted in the last 5 years (2007 – 2011). Further, the study is panned across 7 major patent jurisdictions, namely:
- United States
- European Patent Office
- United Kingdom
We wanted to cover China, India and Israel. However, data was not available in the preferred format.
Further, the study uses International Patent Classification (IPC) as the platform for determining the field of technology to which the patents related. The IPC codes and their definition are provided below:
|B||Performing operations; transporting|
|F||Mechanical engineering; lighting; heating; weapons; blasting|
The trends derived from this study has been represented using line graphs. In the graphs, X axis indicates duration in months, Y axis indicates the year of grant and the technology fields (IPC codes) are indicated using distant colors.
Trend – Time required for getting a patent in US
Trend – Time required for getting a patent in European Patent Office
Trend – Time required for getting a patent in Japan
Trend – Time required for getting a patent in Canada
Trend – Time required for getting a patent in United Kingdom
Trend – Time required for getting a patent in France
Trend – Time required for getting a patent in Germany
A closer look at the graphs reveals that there is substantial difference between one patent office to another in the amount of time taken to grant patents. Additionally, it can be observed that the technology filed of the patent application has a substantial bearing on the time taken by patent offices to grant patents.
I hope this study helps you in getting a decent perspective on the time that may be required to get a patent.
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[About the author: Kartik Puttaiah is a patent consultant and co-founder of InvnTree Intellectual Property Services Pvt. Ltd., a patent services company based in Bangalore http://invntree.com/]