Issuance - Hopefully the examiner allows the
application to issue into a patent. An issue fee is paid to the USPTO and the
Continuations/Appeals- If the examiner does not allow the
patent to issue but gives a final rejection that is not necessarily the end for
the applicant. A continuation may be filed and the prosecution begins again. Or
if there is strong ground, the applicant may appeal the examiner’s rejection.
Maintenance – After the patent has issued, the
patentee must pay maintenance fees 3.5 years, 7.5 years, and 11.5 years after