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Texas inventors know that securing their intellectual property rights is essential. They carefully fill out their patent applications and send them to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to await a decision. At this point, they know that under patent law, they must wait for a response from an examiner.

Understanding the types of responses that a Texas inventor could receive might help alleviate some of the trepidation that often accompanies waiting for a response. There are three different types of responses a patent examiner can send in reference to an application. They are an office action, a notice of allowability and a notice.

An office action outlines an examiner's grounds for objections to and/or rejection of an application. There are non-final and final office actions. A notice of allowability tells the potential patent holder that the application could be approved, pending fulfillment of the requirements in the notice of allowance and fee(s) due that accompanies it. The receipt of a notice indicates that the examiner found deficiencies in the application, the accompanying correspondence or both. Each of these responses requires an answer within certain time limits.

Any failure to respond appropriately and within the prescribed time limits could result in a denial of a patent application. As soon as any one of these responses is received, it would be beneficial to seek the advice and assistance of a patent law attorney. He or she could help ensure that your responses provide the best chance possible to receive the patent. Of course, having an attorney to assist with the original patent application could help ensure that a patent is received in the quickest time possible.

Source: uspto.gov, "Responding to Office Actions", April 16, 2017

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