I often hear from programmers and others involved in software or dot com startups that it takes too long to get a U.S. Patent. The wait time is a real turn off, since the software world moves so quickly. Well, it’s just not true, if your patent attorney knows what he’s doing and you take the proper measures to expedite things. Whereas in the past the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was known for extremely long queues and delays, today the USPTO works much more efficiently and quickly.

First, it doesn’t have to take 2-3 years to obtain a U.S. Patent. In fact, here is a copy of a US Patent 835201 I obtained for a client in less than 6 months. That’s right – counting from the day that we filed the utility patent application with the Patent Office, it took less than six (6) months to receive a U.S. Patent Certificate (with the golden seal and the red ribbon) in the mail. If you look at the linked U.S. Patent, you will see that the “issue date” is less than 6 months after the “filing date.” How did we do that? We used the Track I: Prioritized Examination process that has been around for several years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Any utility patent application qualifies for this process – all you have to do is pay a fee to the Patent Office and file a one page form that requests they expedite your patent application. It’s that easy.

Second, even if you don’t expedite it, as of today, the average amount of time it takes for the USPTO to give you a first response to your patent application is 16 months. See this link to the Patent Office Dashboard , which is a cool USPTO page that visually shows you how long certain processes are currently taking. Therefore, if your patent application is written correctly, you will either receive an allowance in your first response (i.e., at the 16 month mark) or shortly thereafter, in response to some negotiating/amending by your patent attorney. As you can see, 16 months is quite a bit shorter than the 2-3 years many people expect to wait.

Lastly, you don’t have to pay a lot of money to expedite your patent application. True, the Track I: Prioritized Examination request