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Applying for a patent can be a time-consuming and complicated process. It might not surprise some Texas applicants that denials and rejections are often part of the patent law process. Fortunately, that does not necessarily mean there is no recourse.

When a patent application is filed, a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent examiner reviews it. It is that person's function to determine whether the invention or idea meets qualifications such as being useful, non-obvious and/or novel. If the application is not approved, there are two types of responses the applicant will receive -- a nonfinal office action or a final office action.

A nonfinal office action is issued when the examiner believes that the application is deficient. If you receive such a notice, you will have six months to make revisions to the application or present an argument explaining why the examiner was incorrect. Nonfinal office actions are routinely issued and considered an acceptable part of the application process.

A final office action is issued after the expiration of the six months provided for in the nonfinal office action process. At this point, the application is rejected. However, the applicant can still request an appeal with the Board of Appeals and Patent Interferences or submit a Request for Continued Examination.

In either case, it would be in your best interest to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney to discuss your options. Texas inventors are not expected to know or understand all aspects of patent law. Therefore, it is imperative that you work with an attorney who can guide you through the process and alert you to any potential pitfalls.

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We have convenient offices in Fort Worth, Plano, Mansfield, Allen and Arlington, Texas. We also have offices in Salt Lake City and Sandy.

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