What Is a Notice of Allowance Patent?

By Laura Payet

What Is a Notice of Allowance Patent?

By Laura Payet

If you have filed a patent application, you will receive a notice of allowance from the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when the patent examiner determines that your application is complete and meets all the requirements for a patent to be issued. The Notice indicates that the examiner intends to grant a patent for your invention. But it isn't time to celebrate quite yet. Once you receive the notice, you still have steps to follow to ensure that the USPTO issues your patent.

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An Overview of the Patent Application Process

A patent is a grant of property rights to an inventor that allows them to prevent others from making or selling their invention for a period of years. There are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Your first step in obtaining a patent is ascertaining whether your invention is patentable and, if so, which type of patent is appropriate. Next, you must submit a patent application to the USPTO. Generally, a patent application includes:

  • The identity of the inventor or co-inventors
  • A specification, which is a written description of the invention
  • The claims, which clarify what the invention does and what the scope of the patent application is
  • Any necessary drawings or blueprints, which may be in draft form
  • An oath or declaration, which states in part that the inventor or coinventors actually invented the invention

When they accept your application as complete, a patent examiner studies it and determines whether the invention merits a patent.

The Notice of Allowance

If the examiner decides to grant a patent for your invention, the USPTO sends you a document called a Notice of Allowance. The Notice indicates the examiner's intention to issue a patent. It is officially known as a Notice of Allowance and Fee(s) Due (Form PTOL-85) and contains a Part B, which sets out the issue fee and any required publication fee that you must pay before any patent will issue.

Once you receive the notice, you must sign Part B and return it to them with the necessary fees and any final drawings—if you submitted draft drawings with your application—or requested paperwork. By law, you must return these within three months of the date they mailed you the Notice, and this period cannot be extended. If you fail to meet the deadline, your entire application will be abandoned.

After you return Part B and pay the fees, they will send you a notification that contains your patent's number and expected issue date. On the patent's issue date, they will mail your patent grant. According to their website, the patent grant comes bound in an attractive cover with a gold seal and red ribbon.

Publication of a Patent

Beginning in the year 2000, because of changes in the law, the USPTO joined Japan and Europe in publishing all patent applications. No earlier than eighteen months after a patent application's earliest filing date, they publish it electronically. Once published, the application file is available to the public. Publication does not mean that a patent has been or will be issued. Because all applications are published (with certain exceptions), every applicant must pay a publication fee. If you have not paid this fee before they issues your Notice of Allowance, it is included in the Notice. You must pay it before your patent can issue.

Pursuing a patent application can be a complex and time-consuming process, and patent attorneys are expensive. But you can use online resources that give you access to attorneys without the need to hire one yourself. Whether you want to file for a utility patent, a design patent, or a provisional patent, help is available to guide you every step of the way.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.