Problems at the USPTO

If Problems Arise With Your Application

In a perfect world, your design application will sail through the examination process and you will, within 18 to 24 months, receive a notice that it’s been approved. However, things don’t always go this smoothly. An examiner may object to your application¾for example, by claiming that your design isn’t novel or ornamental (see Section A, above, for information on the standards your patent must meet). It’s beyond the scope of this book to advise you how to respond to examiner notices. If you run into a problem and want to handle it on your own, read David Pressman’sPatent It Yourself(Nolo). Although the book primarily deals with utility patents, it provides a lot of helpful information on design patents and offers a thorough explanation of the USPTO examination process—including suggestions on responding to examiner objections.

Speeding Your Design Patent Application

If you’re in a hurry, are especially concerned that your design will be stolen, or can afford the hefty fee, you can pay a “Rocket Docket” fee to have your design patent application expedited. Currently, this adds $900 to the regular fees. Unfortunately, the USPTO doesn’t make clear exactly how much time your money will buy you. For information on the Rocket Docket procedure, its benefits, and current fees, check the USPTO website.