How does a patent extension of time work?

What is a patent extension of time?

Responses to Office Actions may typically be extended. A typical patent Office Action provides the applicant with a three-month deadline for a response. Beyond three months, the applicant will need a patent extension of time. In most cases, an applicant may have up to six months from the date of an Office Action to file a response.

Deadlines for filing an application, such as filing a non-provisional application claiming priority to a provisional or foreign application, may not be extended. Similarly, a US national stage application deadline based on a PCT application may not be extended.

What is the extension-free deadline?

In a typical substantive patent Office Action, you have three months from the issue date to file a response without having to pay for extension fees. This 3-month date is the extension-free deadline typically calendared on a patent attorney’s docket.

How many months can a patent response be extended?

If more time is needed to respond to a substantive Office Action, a maximum three-month extension of time may be requested giving the applicant a maximum total of six months from the date of the Office Action.

When should a request for a patent extension of time be filed?

Patent extension requests are filed concurrently with the Office Action response. There is no need to request an extension of time before the 3-month extension-free deadline passes. Instead, the applicant retroactively requests the appropriate number of months of extension and pays the USPTO extension fee at the time the Office Action response is filed.

For example, suppose an Office Action is dated Feb. 7th. The 3-month extension free deadline would be May 7th. If a response were to be filed on June 7th, then the applicant would request a 1-month extension of time and pay a one-month extension fee on June 7th when filing the response. There is no need to file an extension request on or before May 7th.

What if a deadline falls on a weekend or holiday?

If an extension-free or extended deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, then the deadline is pushed to the next business day.

How much are the USPTO extension of time fees?

As shown in the table below, the USPTO fees become increasingly greater for each additional extension month:

USPTO Extension Fees:

 Large entitySmall entity
Extension for response within first month$220$110
Extension for response within second month$640$320
Extension for response within third month$1,480$740
USPTO extension of time fees

Need help responding to a patent Office Action?

Reach out to US patent attorney Vic Lin by email or call (949) 223-9623 to get a flat rate estimate for responding to your patent Office Action. If desired, we can include an Examiner Interview in our cost estimates.

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