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When an inventor receives USPTO letters regarding a patent application

Given the complexity of patent applications and the great amount of effort preparing one can involve, an inventor may feel a great deal of relief once their application is filed. However, it is important for them to remember their work isn’t over yet. Once a patent application is filed, there remain some very impactful steps in the patent process. This includes responding to correspondence sent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in connection to the application.

There are a variety of letters a person may receive from the USPTO during the course of the patent process. When a person receives such correspondence, whatever particular category it falls into, responding to it properly can be incredibly important. Among the things that can be very impactful when it comes to a person’s response to such letters are:

  • When they make their response. There are typically deadlines to responding to such correspondence. The typical deadline for responding to an office action is six months, while the typical deadline for taking corrective action following receiving notice of a deficiency in one’s application is two months. However, there can be variations from this, so it can be important for an inventor to be properly informed on what the deadline is for the particular correspondence they are responding to.
  • The exact nature of their response. Different types of USPTO correspondence ask for different types of responses.

Conduct such as responding to a letter from the USPTO improperly or missing a deadline for responding to such a letter could derail an inventor’s patent application. So, being equipped with the right information and guidance can be important for a person when dealing with such correspondence. Experienced patent lawyers can guide inventors through the various steps of the patent process, including responding to office actions and other USPTO letters.

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, “Responding to Office Actions,” Accessed August 1, 2017

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