How long does the patent process take?

In the UK it typically takes between four and six years for a patent application to be granted.

When using a patent attorney to draft your patent application, it is sensible to allow at least two weeks to enable the application to be prepared and filed, from when all the necessary information to prepare the application is available. Where commercial pressures dictate, it is generally possible to move more quickly than this, but allowing more time enables more thought and reflection to be put into preparing the application.

Once a first patent application has been filed, it is possible to disclose details of the invention non-confidentially and begin commercialising the invention straightaway.

The process of examination of patent applications by patent offices goes through various stages and it is usually a matter of years (typically between four and six years in the UK) before a patent is granted or the application finally refused. Outside the UK, the time taken to obtain patent protection varies considerably from country to country, and application to application.

Whilst the time taken to obtain a patent often comes as a surprise, most applicants choose to pursue their patent applications as slowly as the rules allow, in order to defer costs. If there is, or becomes, a need to obtain grant early (for example, if there is a potential infringement) steps can be taken in some countries (including the UK) to speed the process up.

If you have questions about the patent process, please get in touch to speak to one of our patent attorneys.

Wilson Gunn