The Patent Process

Schwartz Law Firm, P.C. regularly represents corporations, business owners, entrepreneurs, and inventors in obtaining patents in the United States and internationally.

In the United Stated, patents are granted by the Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") located in Alexandria, Virginia. There are no state patent offices. A patent gives the owner the right to exclude others from making, using, offering to sell, or selling the patented invention within the United States or importing the invention into the United States.

To obtain a patent, an application for a patent must be filed with the PTO. The application includes a specification, which requires a written description of the invention telling what the invention is, how it works, and how to make and use it so as to enable others skilled in the art to do so. The specification must also describe what the inventor believed at the time of filing to be the best way of making his or her invention. The specification concludes with one or more numbered sentences. These numbered sentences are called the claims of the patent. The purpose of the claims is to particularly point out what the applicant regards as the invention and to define the scope of the patent owner's exclusive rights.

An application for a patent is reviewed by a trained PTO examiner. The examiner reviews (or examines) the patent application to determine whether the claims are patentable and if the specification adequately describes the invention claimed. In examining a patent application, the patent examiner searches records available to the PTO for what is referred to as "prior art," and he or she also reviews prior art submitted by the applicant.

Following the prior art search and examination of the application, the patent examiner advises the applicant in writing about what he/she has found and whether any claim is patentable, or "allowed." This writing from the patent examiner is called an "office action." More often than not, the initial office action by the patent examiner rejects the claims. The applicant then responds to the office action and may change the claims or submit new claims. This process can go back and forth between the patent examiner and the applicant for several months or even years until the patent examiner is satisfied that the application and claims are patentable.

Schwartz Law Firm is based in Charlotte, North Carolina with clients throughout the United States and internationally. Its founder and owner, Jeff Schwartz, has prepared, filed, and prosecuted more than 500 patent applications in a broad range of technologies including Internet applications, computer software, medical devices and processes, mechanical devices, and innovative business methods. Jeff is a registered patent attorney, and has been selected by his peers as one of North Carolina's leading intellectual property lawyers, according to separate surveys taken by Law & Politics and Business North Carolina magazine.

For more information regarding the patent process, please contact Schwartz Law Firm to schedule a consultation.

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Schwartz Law Firm, P.C.

SouthPark Towers
6100 Fairview Road, Suite 1135
Charlotte, NC 28210

phone: 704-325-6099

fax: 704-552-1866

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