Why Would a Patent Be Denied?

Rich Goldstein

Founder & Principal Patent Attorney
Stamp showing a "denied logo" on a white background

When inventors submit their patent applications to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), they may encounter a variety of hurdles that could result in the rejection of their application. It’s important to understand why patents may be rejected in order to increase the likelihood of a successful application. 

What Do I Need to Know About Patent Rejection?

Here are five common reasons why patent applications may be rejected. Read through the following list carefully while considering your patent application. The trademark office will use these same guidelines at the patent office to assess your particular claim. 

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The Invention Already Exists or Is Similar to an Existing Invention

Second, if the invention is too obvious or too similar to an existing invention, it may not meet the requirements for patentability. In the context of patents, an invention that is not obvious is one that is not easily or readily apparent to someone who is knowledgeable in the relevant field of technology.

In other words, an invention that is not obvious is one that requires some degree of ingenuity or creativity to conceive of, and is not simply a small variation on something that already exists. Patent attorneys are skilled in this kind of research.

The Invention Is Obvious

First, if the invention is not new or original, meaning it has already been invented or publicly disclosed, the patent may be rejected. A patent attorney can help you do a prior art search or research regarding existing products to identify anything similar and to determine whether it is different enough to meet the “non-obviousness” requirement

An Incomplete or Incorrect Application

Patent rejections often occur when the patent examiner cannot make sense of an application or there are broad claims that cannot be substantiated. If the application is missing information or doesn’t fully describe the invention, it may be rejected. The claim language on your application is crucial to the application’s success. If you receive a rejection based on the content of your application, a lawyer can further review your application and the rejection by the USPTO to see if the patent rejection was justified.

The Subject Matter Is Not Patentable

Not everything is eligible to be patented. Fourth, certain types of inventions, such as abstract ideas or natural phenomena, may not be eligible for patent protection. Finally, failure to meet other legal requirements such as filing by the correct person or entity, or within a certain time frame can also result in rejection. Patent attorneys can help you determine before applying if your invention has patentable subject matter.

How Can I Reduce the Risk of Patent Rejection?

If you’ve created a brilliant idea or invention, only to have it rejected when you applied for a patent, Goldstein Patent Law can help. Patent rejection can be a frustrating and disheartening experience for inventors–but don’t give up hope just yet. Receiving a patent rejection is unfortunate, but not uncommon and definitely not the end of the road.

Stamp showing a "denied logo" on a white background

There are many reasons why a patent application might be rejected, and with the right strategies and resources, plus the help of a patent attorney, it may still be possible to secure a patent for your invention. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why patent applications are rejected, and offer some tips from our patent law expert on how to increase your chances of success.

One way to reduce the risk of a failed patent application is to work with a law firm that specializes in patents. By reviewing your application with a patent attorney, you can assure that the Patent and Trademark Office receives a strong application that clearly defines your invention and establishes why you deserve this protection. Claim amendments can often be made if the application is denied. Remember patent rejection does not need to be the end of your invention’s journey. Read on to learn more.

What Makes a Patent Application Successful?

There are several factors that contribute to a successful patent application. First and foremost, the invention you submit for patenting must meet the legal requirements for patentability. This means the invention must be novel, non-obvious, and useful. Additionally, a successful patent application must include a thorough and detailed description of what the invention actually is, including any drawings or diagrams necessary to fully illustrate the invention.

Another important factor in a successful patent application is the quality of what you claim. All claims must be sufficiently differentiated. Claims are part of the patent application process that defines the scope of the invention and its legal protection, so they must be detailed and comprehensive. A well-written set of claims can help ensure that your intellectual property as the inventor is fully protected.

Working with an experienced patent attorney or law firm can also increase the likelihood of a successful patent application. Submitting on your own could mean making more work for yourself, and increasing the risk of making a costly mistake. An attorney can provide guidance on the patent process, help ensure that the application meets all legal requirements, and navigate any issues or objections that may arise during the application process.

Finally, persistence and patience are key to a successful patent application. The process can take a long time and may involve multiple rounds of review and revision. But with perseverance and the right legal partner, inventors can protect their intellectual property and potentially profit from their inventions for years to come.

How Does a Law Firm Help Me Strengthen My Patent Application?

A strong application is the best way to reduce the risk of patent rejection. A patent law firm can help you navigate the application process, provide guidance on how to describe your invention in detail and ensure that your application meets all the necessary legal requirements to avoid patent rejection. By working with an experienced patent lawyer, you can increase your chances of success and minimize the risk of having your application rejected.

Lawyer busy taking down notes while his laptop is turned on and the Justitia statue is seen on his working table

In conclusion, it’s important to understand the reasons why patent rejection occurs. By working with a patent law firm, inventors like you can increase their chances of success and ensure that their patent application meets all the necessary legal requirements. With the right guidance and expertise, inventors can protect their intellectual property and potentially reap the benefits of their inventions for years to come.

In the event that your patent application is denied, a patent attorney here at Goldstein Patent Law can still help. Patent appeals are a process that are best undertaken with the help of a patent attorney present. Patent rejection does not need to be the last step in your invention’s journey–turn to our patent appeals team if you need help.

Do I Need to Take My Patent to the Federal Court or Supreme Court if It Is Denied?

At Goldstein Law, we can seek patent appeals after a final patent rejection. Patent appeals are a legal process in which a patent applicant who has been denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office can challenge their decision. If the patent examiner determines that the application does not meet the legal requirements, the applicant may move the decision to a higher patent appeals authority.

Patent appeals can be complex, time-consuming, and daunting for the average person. After working hard on your invention, don’t run the risk of getting denied your patent a second time. We handle patent appeals with tenacity and dedication at Goldstein Law, and will work hard to figure out what caused the patent rejection.

We will strive to find any areas of opportunity to revise or strengthen your application, even taking your patent to a Supreme Federal Court if need be. Since patent appeals are so complex and crucial, it’s best to work with a patent attorney who is skilled in the patent appeals process. 

Schedule a Consultation With a Patent Appeals Lawyer at Goldstein Law

If you’re dealing with patent rejection, start by speaking with our team about patent appeals on a discovery call. The American Bar Association—the world’s largest organization of lawyers—asked Goldstein Patent Law founder Rich Goldstein to write their consumer guide on obtaining a patent.

As the authority on patents, you can rest assured Goldstein Patent Law has the skill and expertise to guide you through every step of the patent process–from initial prior art search and research to even appealing to the highest courts. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get the patent appeals process started and get you back on a path to getting your intellectual property protected.

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