We should clarify what we mean by easy before diving into how difficult it is to obtain a utility patent. According to this Yale statistical analysis, just 11% of utility nonprovisional patent applications are accepted without any objections if simple denotes acquiring a patent without any rejections. In most circumstances, obtaining a utility patent will be difficult. It may also be simple to obtain an independent claim approved with a large number of restrictions or claim components, resulting in a patent with little to no commercial value.
The vast majority of utility patent applications will have a difficult time getting approved. Those who submit utility patents should not be deterred. Rather, utility patent applicants should be well-versed in the lengthy and costly procedure of acquiring a utility patent. Reasonable expectations paired with a well-thought-out patent strategy can result in the successful issuance of a utility patent that will provide significant value to your company.
Why is it so difficult to secure a utility patent?
The amount of difficulty in getting utility patents is influenced by a number of variables. A significant role will be played by a certain technological field. Utility patent applications for software, mobile apps, and business procedures, for example, have a higher rejection rate and a higher likelihood of multiple rejections.
Another important reason contributing to the high rejection rate is the ease with which patent examiners dismiss claims when they do not identify extremely comparable prior art references. “How do examiners get away with this?” you might think. The response is an obviousness rejection, which occurs when examiners integrate various prior art references to reach the claimed invention. There are ways for dealing with and overcoming obviousness rejections, but they will take a lot of time and effort.
Inconsistencies in how the application and the examiner interpret important claim phrases – i.e., the applicant perceives a claim term to have a precise meaning, while the examiner uses a broader reading – might also be a problem.
What factors influence claim rejections and allowances?
Applicants, understandably, want utility patents with wide claims that have teeth — claim that cover rivals’ knockoffs. In most cases, the fight for a greater claim scope will result in a tug-of-war with the examiner. It’s a give-and-take situation in which the applicant makes compromises by adding claim features in order to get past each previous art rejection. Examiners may authorize revised claims if they are being fair and the new claim components reduce the scope to the point where the examiner believes the claim has attained the required degree of originality and non obviousness.
If all you want is a trophy patent, submitting claims with a large number of restrictions can considerably boost your chances of being accepted. This narrows the scope of the claim and enhances the chances of it being approved. An independent claim with 20 paragraphs having at least two claim components, for example, could have a high chance of being allowed. But, in the actual world, would such a claim be worth anything if others can easily design around it?
Will a prior art patent search be useful?
A search for patentability can help you find previous art patents that are comparable to or closely linked to your idea. However, novelty searches are restricted in that it is quite easy to overlook earlier art references. Even if the closest prior art references are located in a prior art search, the examiner’s use of the obviousness rejection to reject claims that appear to be considerably different from the prior art is impossible to foresee.
Is it simple to obtain a design patent?
Design patent applications have a high chance of being granted, with an approval rate of over 84 percent:
How difficult is it to obtain a design patent?
Rate of Design Allowance – Fiscal Year 2020Because of the high design allowance rate, it may be profitable to file design applications even if you are doubtful about a design’s uniqueness.