Who’s getting patents (Infographic)
Where and How Long It's Taking right now
As an entrepreneur, getting a patent to protect your innovation may be one of the most critical steps in your business plan. It can also be a lengthy, drawn-out process.
On average, it takes 2-1/2 years to complete the application process for a patent in the U.S., according to data in the infographic generated by online patent law service SmartUp. Mechanical engineering patents are likely to take longer, with average wait times clocking in at almost 33 months.
The landscape for entrepreneurs looking to secure a patent has changed substantially over the last year. In March of 2013, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act changed patent law from a “first to invent” standard to a “first to file” rule. What that means is that it no longer matters who came up with an idea first – what matters is who filed the patent application for it first.
While this new patent landscape favors large corporations with deep pockets for litigation, the stakes are high. If you don’t file for a patent for your invention, you open yourself up to costly lawsuits.
Legislation to limit the ability of “patent trolls” – individuals or companies who own patents they don’t use and sue inventors for infringing upon them – is moving through Congress right now. In October, the House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act, which aimed to stem the tide of frivolous patent lawsuits. Severalparallel bills have been proposed in the Senate. Just this week, the non-profit policy advocacy organization, R Street, sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to take action.