How long it takes USPTO to issue a patent

For the past year or so, it has been taking the USPTO around 4-5 weeks to issue a patent.

Here are seven randomly selected soon-to-issue applications from our docket.  I picked these cases because today is the day that USPTO mailed out the Issue Notifications, meaning that they are all scheduled to issue October 17, 2017.  The interesting questions are, how long ago was the Issue Fee paid for these cases?  And how long did it take for the Issue Branch to decide what the patent number will be (and what the issue date will be)?  And how long will it take for the Issue Branch to issue the patent after having received the Issue Fee?

Issue fee paid Issue date days weeks
September 14, 2017 October 17, 2017 33 4.7
September 12, 2017 October 17, 2017 35 5.0
September 11, 2017 October 17, 2017 36 5.1
September 14, 2017 October 17, 2017 33 4.7
September 12, 2017 October 17, 2017 35 5.0
September 14, 2017 October 17, 2017 33 4.7
September 19, 2017 October 17, 2017 28 4.0

In these seven cases, the Issue Fee was paid over a range of dates from September 11 to September 19, 2017.  In these cases the Issue Notification got mailed on September 28, 2017.  In other words it took the Issue Branch anywhere from nine to seventeen days to pick a patent number and pick an issue date.

And as you can see, the actual time to issue (from the date of payment of the Issue Fee) is as quick as a mere four weeks.  

This is pretty consistent with, but slightly faster than, the situation a year ago:

Issue fee paid Issue date days weeks
August 31, 2016 October 4, 2016 34 4.9
September 1, 2016 October 4, 2016 33 4.7
September 1, 2016 October 4, 2016 33 4.7
September 1, 2016 October 4, 2016 33 4.7
August 29, 2016 October 4, 2016 36 5.1

When I was first in practice, the time to issue seemed longer, more like around 5-6 weeks.

One thought on “How long it takes USPTO to issue a patent

  1. I have also noticed that the USPTO has stepped-up their processing of Issue Fees leading to actual issued patents significantly. In general, I applaud any acts of increased government efficiency, and I have had some that were processed in less than four weeks. However, I now find that I am warning my clients that if they want to get a child patent application filed that claims priority to the soon-to-be-issued patent while the parent application is still co-pending, they need to make a concrete decision right away (I also discuss this issue as soon as the Notice of Allowance is received) because we can no longer count on the same timelines/delays from the past, and that a random act of federal government efficiency is always possible.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.