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申请美国专利的流程-概要 The Patent Process in the United States

Obtaining a patent in the United States takes about three to seven years depending on the backlog in the "art unit" which will handle your application. The chart to the right illustrates the process. 申请美国专利的流程在时间上可以延续至3-7年,但可以加费加急。

 

Inventor Disclosure, Novelty Search, Patent Application Drafting发明人的信息披露,新颖性检索,起草发明申请的文献

Upon providing information about your invention to me, including what it does, how it works, how it is an improvement over the prior art, and what is the closest relevant art, a novelty search is required. A novelty search involves finding the appropriate classes and subclasses where your invention fits at the U.S. Patent Office and reviewing all relevant patents as well as searching through periodicals and learned journals, if applicable.  Click here for more detailed information on novelty searches. Patentability / Novelty Searches 在你向我们提供你的发明的具体内容之后,包括你的发明是做什么的,有什么功效,怎样发挥功效,有哪些改进的地方,和最接近的相关技术等,我们会做一个新颖性等检索。这个检索包括搜寻专利在专利局等类别,以及相关专利申请书,期刊,科研学术报告等。

This step is important because based on the art uncovered, your attorney can evaluate how broadly you may obtain patent protection. With this information in hand, you can then determine whether it is worthwhile to spend the money and time to obtain patent protection. Without a search, filing a patent is often a shot in the dark. You might be selling yourself short by claiming far less than is available or you might be claiming too broadly so that the Patent Office will reject your invention as already existing.这一个步骤很重要,因为检索结论有助于我们为你的发明技术能否得到专利权益的保护以及其保护范围定位。如果没有检索定位,申请专利好比在黑暗中进行。你很有可能提出的权利要求范围过窄,或是太宽,致使申请被专利局驳回。

Once the search is complete, the application is drafted and if it is a utility patent, it is complete with claims, background of your invention, a summary of your invention, figures, and a detailed technical description of your invention meeting the statutory requirements as outlined in the previous pages.检索完毕后,下一步是起草专利申请的具体内容,这部分包括,撰写权利要求,技术背景,发明摘要,制图,以及详细的技术说明书等。撰写内容和形式都必须符合美国专利法都各项要求。

 

Filing and Examination 递交申请和审查

Filing an application allows you to mark your products with "patent pending."  Once filed at the Patent Office, according to international treaties, you will have a year to file the application in foreign countries. (In some cases, it may be desirable to file an international patent application in the first instance.) Each country, or sometimes groups of countries, has a procedure for obtaining patents in their respective jurisdictions. 申请递交后,你可以在产品上注明“有待专利”。根据国际合约,一旦在任何一个成员国提出申请后,你的专利申请可以在一年之内进入其他成员国。 (在某些情况下,第一份申请也可以以专利合作条约的形式提出)。各国会有各国的具体细则。

At the U.S. Patent Office, after filing requirements are complete, your application is examined by an Examiner. Patent application prosecution can vary widely and is often somewhat subjective. The time and expense is based upon the complexity of the rejection, the reasonableness of the Examiner, the closeness of the prior art as compared to the scope of patent protection claimed, and the quality of the communication with the Examiner. 申请部分的程序完成后,该申请进入审查阶段,美国专利会对专利申请的具体内容进行实质性的审查。专利审查的过程相当复杂,各种案例之间的差异往往很大,而且有相当部分的主观因素。时间和费用上的花费主要取决于:专利本身的复杂性,被拒绝的理由的复杂性,专利审查员的合理程度,相关技术的类似程度,以及是否能和审查员有顺利的沟通渠道等等。

Typically, an "Office Action" discussing and arguing the scope of patentability will be issued. In most cases, a Response is necessary to address issues raised by the Examiner and/or amend what is claimed. Usually, after one or two Responses, outstanding issues are resolved as to the form of the claims and the scope of protection. 通常情况下,专利局的审查员会提供审查意见书,提出各类异议等。针对审查员提出的每一项异议,我们会在和你讨论之后撰写回复,以及答辩内容。类似的审查意见书和回复很有可能有多个回合。在所有的异议得到解决之后,专利申请才进入批准和颁发阶段。

 

Patent Grant and Maintenance Fees

After allowance, and upon payment of issuance fees, the application issues into a patent granting an exclusive right to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention as defined in the claims of your patent for a period of time, which in the United States is 20 years from your earliest filing date. 美国的专利申请在获批准之后,需要付颁发费,之后专利才获得正式授权。美国的专利年限从最早的申请日算起是20年。在这个期限之内,你有权阻止他人制造,使用,或卖专利的权利要求之内所确定的权益。

After your patent has issued, maintenance fees must be paid by the 4th, 8th, and 12th years from the date of issue to maintain your rights. 美国专利颁发后,在第四,八,和十二年间会需要付维持费,以确保专利权益的有效期。