My company is bankrupt and we have an outstanding patent application. Will it still be considered and possibly approved?


That'll depend on whether any more office actions are needed, and if so whether they're handled on time. For example, if the patent office sends out a rejection notice, your (your company's attorneys) need to respond within a specific time period. If a response isn't sent in time, the application is considered abandoned.

Depending on how things were arranged between your company and the patent attorneys, all the costs for processing a patent may have been paid up-front, so they'll continue to prosecute it. On the other hand, if they're being paid hourly, and your company doesn't pay the bill, chances are pretty good they won't do much more work for you.

It's not, however, automatic that filing a bankruptcy immediately disables all the patent applications, or anything like that.

Edit: I almost forgot one crucial point: there's (at least normally) a fee due when a patent is issued. As such, assuming the patent office did approve your application, you'd normally need to come up with some money to get it issued. The fee isn't terribly high though (around $600, if memory serves) so even a company in bankruptcy proceedings can probably come up with the money to pay it.

  • That's right, the PTO will continue its process of examination and deadlines without regard to the bankruptcy. Nov 15 '12 at 12:42
  • Another issue becomes who the owner of the application is and who is empowered to take action on the application. The attorneys may have been paid up front but they can only file things at the direction/authorization of the owners. It may be that a trustee takes over the patent prosecution.
    – George White
    Jan 20 '13 at 22:31

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