What happens after I receive a notice of allowance?
A notice of allowance is a document that the Patent Office communicates to the applicant when it is satisfied that the patent application complies with the applicable Patent Laws and Rules. The notice of allowance marks the close of prosecution and the applicant will have to pay the issue fee for the patent to grant. An applicant can only file a continuing application that claims the benefit of a prior filed patent application while the prior filed application is pending. This means that the applicant will have to file any divisional, continuation, or continuation in part applications for any unclaimed inventions before the prior filed application issues. Any subject matter that is not claimed will be deemed dedicated to the public. As a result, the applicant should review the application after the notice of allowance to determine if there are any claims that were cancelled during prosecution or if there is any unclaimed subject matter that the applicant may want to pursue in a divisional or continuation application. Applicants should consider filing a continuation application even if there aren't any claims apparent to the applicant at the time worthy of another application. Doing so provides applicants with the flexibility of filing claims in the future directed toward a competing product that may not necessarily infringe the claims of the prior filed patent application.
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