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Patent protection: what can you expect and when?

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Applying for a patent can seem a drawn-out, complex process, with the various stages of pre-filing, filing and post-filing. When might your patent actually be granted? 

Sam Kaye from Mishcon de Reya's Patents Team has created this Filing Timeline to explain the process. 

For more information about our strategic patents service, please get in touch. 

Patent Filing Timeline

4 to 6 weeks pre-filing – instruct drafting and provide data and information to describe the invention. 

2 to 3 weeks pre-filing – review draft and revise, we anticipate two rounds of revision and associated discussions in the cost of drafting. 

1 week pre-filing – provide applicant and inventor details – names, addresses and nationalities. 

Filing of the patent applicant, this is your PRIORITY DATE (the date against which prior art is judged). 

Before this date, things published/made available to the public are full prior art. On and after this date, they are not prior art or may be novelty-only art (a tool to prevent double patenting).ng – provide applicant and inventor details – names, addresses and nationalities 


Approx. 6 months – search (and examination) report is received if requested at the time of filing. 

Up to 12 months – amendments and additions can be made to the application by way of top up filing. 

12 months – file PCT application and/or national filings, claiming priority from your priority application. 

Approx. 14 months – receive PCT search report and written opinion. 

18 months – patent application(s) publishes and is now full prior art against others’, and your own, future applications. 

Approx. 27 months – decide on which countries to pursue your PCT application in, known as “entering the national phase”. 

Ideally, this will be you major markets, countries of manufacture and any future markets. 

30 months – enter PCT into the national/regional phases, patent pending status lost in countries where the application is not pursued. 

36 to 48 months – patent prosecution (examination of the patent application) before the national/regional offices begins. 

48 to 60 months – patent is granted (or refused).