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What happens if my patent application is rejected?

During the process of seeking a patent, the PTO may issue a rejection of the patent application. This rejection is known as an “Office Action.” This is not a permanent rejection of the patent application - rather, it informs the inventor of the problems with the application and affords the inventor an opportunity to correct these problems. Ultimately, however, the PTO may issue a final rejection, stating that it will not issue a patent to the inventor.  In this case, if the inventor still wants to try to get a patent, he or she can appeal to the PTO’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.  This is a costly and lengthy process similar to a court proceeding.