How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Patent?

The time required for a patent to be granted will depend on the registration procedure and a number of other factors that will vary from country to country. In countries where no examination as to the substance of the patent application is conducted, the procedure will generally be relatively fast (it will usually be registered within a few months). However, in countries where the patent office conducts a thorough substantial examination to check whether the patent meets the patentability criteria of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability, the entire procedure from application to grant will generally take over 12, and in many cases over 18, months. It should, however, be noted that the procedure may take longer, particularly wherever the law provides for opposition proceedings prior to the grant of the patent or where the law allows for so-called deferred examination (i.e., the patent will only be examined upon a corresponding request to be filed within a certain period of time which may be several years). On the other hand, the deferred examination system gives an applicant more time to decide whether his invention is worth patenting in view of the possibility of commercialization and the costs involved to obtain a patent.