Why Discuss A Continuation When The Only Thing I See Due Is An Issue Fee?
I get different versions of this question all the time. The short answer is - the timing. A patent application remains pending up until the date that the patent issues. Pendency is important when filing a continuation, which was
Once we pay the Patent Issue Fee, a US patent will likely issue about one month later, on the closest Tuesday. All US patents issue on Tuesdays. So if the intention is to file a patent continuation, the time to decide is before payment of the patent issue fee. The United States Patent Office (USPTO) recommends that a continuation “should” be filed prior to payment of the issue fee.
As a practical matter, we can delay at least a couple of weeks after payment of the issue fee to get these things in order. It is never a good idea to go to close to a deadline. While natural disasters, such hurricane Irma do occur, other things also occur, such as utility outages, and other disruptions to businesses. So we begin this discussion of a patent continuation during the time after receiving a notice of allowance, but prior to the payment of the issue fee.
As a balance, until we pay the issue fee, the patent will not issue. So if there is excitement on getting a patent to issue, for example your first patent for a company, then paying the issue fee sooner speeds up the whole process. But that also speeds up the time to make a decision on your continuation application.
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