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I have an invention that I'd like to pursue but there's a patent application for the exact same thing already in existence. However, it's been undergoing pre-exam processing since 2008. Is there any kind of expiration period in a situation like this? How long would a pre-exam processing period typically be? Would it be worth submitting my own application given the time elapsed?

  • It's odd that pre-processing is taking as long as it is, but given that the other inventor was the first to file (and likely the first to invent), you will not be able to patent [exactly] the same invention under US law. – user4545 Oct 27 '15 at 15:15

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