Dallas Lawyers Assisting With Patent Applications
If you are an inventor who wishes to obtain a patent in the United States, you should consider filing a U.S. patent application. At the law firm of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., we can walk you through the application process and answer your questions along the way. We assist with both provisional and nonprovisional patent applications.
Before filing a patent application, a prior art search can be conducted to determine whether your intention is novel and not obvious. While the results of the search can be advantageous and helpful in deciding whether to pursue patent protection, the law does not require that a search be completed. However, in the event that you do have a search performed, we can assist you in that patentability or prior art search.
Procuring a patent for your invention is a lengthy process and involves many steps. Patent grants are not easily obtained. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable and aggressive patent attorney representing you. We will assist you throughout every step of the process, standing by your side and fighting for you and your rights.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reported that there were 325,979 total patent grants in 2015 out of 629,647 total patent applications, and this was actually fewer than the 326,032 total patent grants in 2014. If you have already filed a patent application and received an Office Action from the Patent Office, we can help you determine how to respond. Additionally, we provide assistance and representation in preparing and filing patent application appeals to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Contact us by calling (214) 824-1414 or filling out an online contact request form.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Filing a patent can be a complicated and time-consuming procedure. Patent protection is often limited to what is included in the patent application, so it is essential that the application is prepared correctly. Patent applications must include all the necessary information that demonstrates an invention as new, useful, and non-obvious.
Although a patent application can be filed without the help of a legal professional, this is not recommended. If there is any improper or incomplete disclosure, the invention or patent may result in little protection, or the patent application may be rejected. You need experienced patent attorneys licensed with the state and registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office who will guide you through the patenting process to ensure that your application is granted, and your invention is protected.
A patent lawyer can help you handle all management of your intellectual property, including satisfying important deadlines. They can also handle the prosecution or defense of intellectual property violations.
An experienced attorney will be able to accurately assess the rights of third parties and help you mitigate any risks while investigating the state of your invention and patent. The lawyer will understand the official registration or transfer of intellectual property rights and be able to advise you on contract-related issues.
One of the biggest advantages of having an attorney is that they can represent you in any appearances before bodies such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, or the European Patent Office. Many lawyers have a global network of contacts that allows them to coordinate applications and exam processes.
Why Choose Us?
The Dallas patent law attorneys of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. have represented a variety of business clients for over three decades in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and throughout the state of Texas. Our attorneys are committed to helping you fill out both provisional and nonprovisional design and utility patent applications. One of our founders, Aaron P. Peacock, is a registered attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office with years of experience in intellectual property and patent law.
Our lawyers have more than 30 years of combined legal experience and understand the complex processes that are involved with registering and protecting patents for both businesses and entrepreneurs. When you hire us, we will provide guidance on getting your patent application through the USPTO smoothly and efficiently, without complications that you may encounter on your own. We also use a unique group work system, so your case will benefit from the unique and varied perspectives of a diverse group of lawyers, rather than one single person.
Our firm also prides itself on maintaining high levels of communication with all of our clients, so you will always know what is happening with your case and where things stand. If we happen to miss your phone call, we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible, often within 24 hours.
While hiring an attorney might seem like a cost that some individuals or businesses can forgo, the short-term savings can have very real long-term consequences. The first problem with not hiring a lawyer is that a person will then have to dedicate all of their own time to preparing an application that needs to satisfy very strict requirements.
The attorney is also going to be able to assist you in crafting any contracts or agreements relating to your patent application, such as non-disclosure agreements, sales agreements, and employment agreements. If you are a small company that will be seeking investors, you will provide them a great deal of comfort by having legal representation.
We take intellectual property matters very seriously. Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. also provides free initial consultations so it will cost you nothing to discuss your case with us.
Provisional and Nonprovisional Patent Applications
Our lawyers have extensive experience providing counsel and guidance for provisional and nonprovisional utility and design patent applications. We understand the significant financial implications associated with each type of patent application. Depending on your goals, you may benefit from filing a provisional patent application, which provides specific legal advantages for one year from the filing date. During that time, you could conduct market research, pursue investors and evaluate licensing options. However, if you do not file a nonprovisional patent application by the expiration of the one-year period, you lose the benefit of the provisional patent application.
The provisional patent application is far more simple than the nonprovisional patent application, which can be far more complicated. A nonprovisional utility patent application can be filed with the USPTO and must be submitted in English or be accompanied by a translation in the English language.
A nonprovisional utility patent application also must include a specification, including a description and a claim or claims, drawings (when necessary), an oath or declaration, and the prescribed filing, search, and examination fees. The USPTO states that a complete nonprovisional utility patent application must contain all the elements listed below and be arranged in the order shown:
- Utility Patent Application Transmittal Form or Transmittal Letter
- Appropriate Fees
- Application Data Sheet (see 37 CFR § 1.76)
- Specification (with at least one claim)
- Drawings (when necessary)
- Executed Oath or Declaration
- Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequence Listing (when necessary)
- Large Tables or Computer Listings (when necessary)
If a patent is issued by the USPTO, the patentee generally retains the rights in the patent for 20 years from the date of filing. Our attorneys can guide you through the decision-making process and filing process for both utility and design patents.
Additionally, if your patent application has been rejected, we can help you identify and take the next appropriate legal steps.
Utility and Design Patent Applications
If you are the first person or business to invent something, it does not guarantee that you will automatically own a patent or even have a right to a patent. Sometimes all it takes is to be the first person to submit the application with the USPTO. Don’t miss your opportunity; let Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. handle your patent application.
You may not be sure what type of patent is needed: either a provisional or nonprovisional application that covers your invention’s functional aspects or a design application covering the aesthetics related to your product. Our attorneys can explain the advantages and disadvantages of the types of patent applications as well as propose a particular patent application that will work for your needs.
Utility patents help protect the functional aspects of an invention. Utility patents also prevent others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing competing goods or services that would violate the patent. Utility patents protect inventions that are new and not included in any existing state-of-the-art search. A utility patent can be directed to any manufactured goods or a process, which may include the following:
- Computer systems and software
- Medical devices
- Financial technology
Design patents cover manufactured goods that are in the market based on their design. Design patents protect the aesthetic factors of these goods. For example, a design patent might include a specific tread pattern on the bottom of a shoe that has a unique appearance, and this design element is included as part of the patent.
As the USPTO states, a utility patent protects the way an article is used and works, but a design patent protects the way an article looks. Some of the more other differences between design patents and utility patents include:
- The term of a utility patent on an application is usually 20 years (20 years from the earliest effective U.S. filing date when the application contains a specific reference to an earlier application), but the term of a design patent is 15 years from the date of grant.
- Utility patents require payment of maintenance fees while design patents involve no maintenance fees.
- A design patent is a single claim but a utility patent could have multiple claims.
- Restriction between plural and distinct inventions is discretionary in utility patent applications but is mandatory in design patent applications.
- International applications for utility patents designating various countries can be filed under the PCT, but an international design application for design protection designating various countries can be filed under the Hague Agreement.
- Foreign priority can be obtained for the filing of utility patent applications up to one year after the first filing in any country subscribing to the Paris Convention, but design patent applications are only allowed six months.
- Utility patent applications can claim the benefit of a provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) but design patent applications cannot.
- A Request for Continued Examination (RCE) can only be filed in utility and plant applications, but RCE is not available for design applications.
- Continued prosecution application (CPA) practice is available only for design applications, not utility patent applications.
- Utility patent applications filed on or after November 29, 2000 are subject to application publication, but design applications are not subject to application publication.
Unless provided, the rules for applications for utility patents are equally applicable to applications for design patents.
What Happens After a Patent Application is Filed?
Once a patent application is filed, the patent office receives the complete patent application, and it is placed in the examiners’ queue. It takes 21 months on average for a patent examiner to get to your patent application; longer if there is a huge backlog of applications. Sometimes the time may be shortened if a priority examination is requested and granted.
When the patent application is received, the examiner conducts a prior art search (which means a search of the prior patents that were filed) to see whether your invention is considered new and meets certain patentability requirements.
Most applications are rejected (or another objection is raised) the first time the patent application is filed. Examiner’s rejections or objections are outlined in an office action that explains the reasons for the denial or objections. Most of the time, the office action is not the end result, and it allows the attorney to start a patent prosecution negotiation with the patent examiner.
The first step in the patent prosecution process could be filing a provisional patent application that will give you 12 months to file a nonprovisional patent application. The USPTO uses the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program in an effort to accelerate the examination process for applications filed in participating intellectual property offices.
Many patents that participate in the PPH program are ultimately approved, and some claims are resolved relatively quickly. There is also no fee to participate in the PPH program.
You could also file an appeal with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the USPTO, which will require you to submit a Notice of Appeal and a brief supporting your position as well as paying a required appeal fee. The PTAB could hold a hearing and it may take years before you receive a decision.
When the PTAB rejects your appeal, you are allowed to file another appeal with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. You could also file a civil action in a United States District Court.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you need assistance with patent law, the attorneys at Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C. can help. To find out how to apply for a U.S. patent, schedule a consultation at our Dallas, Texas, law office. Contact us online or call (214) 824-1414.