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Patent Problems Mean The Future Is... Later

A backlog of applications at the U.S. Patent Office has innovation in a stranglehold. That means big problems for small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs.
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4 Ways To Speed Through The Patent Queue

These tips can shorten -- or at least make the most of -- your stay in patent purgatory:

Patent Speed Tip Number 1.
Take pains to submit an application that's as thoroughly researched and fleshed out as possible, based on a close review of known and existing "prior art" (patents issued in the same class that are most similar to your idea), says Eric Waltmire, an Illinois patent attorney.

Patent Speed Tip Number 2.
Push forward with other activities related to the idea -- marketing, business development, etc. -- while an application is pending, Waltmire suggests.

Patent Speed Tip Number 3.
Weigh the pros and cons of the "accelerated examination" program, which promises to complete action on an application within a year, but also comes with limitations.

Patent Speed Tip Number 4.
Pay the fee (usually $800 and up) for a patent search and read the results before filing your own application. "I think it gives the applicant an appreciation for what the playing field looks like," Houston patent attorney David McEwing says, "and what challenges their application could face."

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