Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Glaciers and Patents

Entrepreneurs often move at light speed.  A typical patent application would lose a race to a glacier.  Why is that the case?

First, the government is involved.  Need I say more?  Your Patent Attorney will file your application with a gigantic government agency (the Patent Office) that spans 6 large office buildings.  It has its own zip code.  And that’s just HQ – not counting regional facilities or the Examiners who work from home.  It takes time for anything that large to move.  

In addition, the Patent Office is notoriously underfunded.  Indeed, for a long time, the federal government drew money out of patent filing fees to fund other operations.  That means that the Examiners tend to be buried underneath an avalanche of applications.  That’s not to defend them, mind you.  But, the law requires that they take up applications in the order in which they are filed.  Unless, of course, you want to pay a lot more to skate ahead.  

Patent law also involves many intricate inquiries.  To ask the Examiner to move through these crevices quickly risks forcing a rejection rather than smooth sledding.  And that applies to your Patent Attorney too.  If you want to glide down the bunny path rather than taking the diamond trail, your Patent Attorney needs time to point your skis in the right direction – and without a ready-made map of the ski resort.  

So the point this author is trying to make is that you can expect 2-3 years before anything of substance usually happens to your patent application.  Then, when things do “move” any single movement usually takes months.  Patience is not only required.  It is a virtue.  Rushing things will only cost the typical Entrepreneur money and perhaps lots of it.

We at the Villhard Patent Group would welcome the opportunity to discuss your patent application’s likely schedule with you.  You can find more information about us at  You can contact us at or at 512-897-0399.  We look forward to hearing from you.