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How long does it take to prepare and file a patent application?

There are many circumstances that require preparing and filing a patent application quickly. Examples include:
 a US provisional application was filed almost a year ago and it is desired to file a full (111a) application
now to protect US patent rights
 a US provisional application was filed almost a year ago and it is desired to file a PCT patent application
now to protect US and non-US patent rights
 the inventor is on the verge of disclosing the invention (perhaps at a conference or trade show or in a
meeting with a potential licensee) and wishes to file right away to protect non-US patent rights or to prove
inventorship
 the inventor disclosed the invention in a printed publication almost a year ago, and wishes to try to
preserve US patent rights
 the inventor sold the invention or offered it for sale almost a year ago, and wishes to try to preserve US
patent rights
 a full US patent application was filed almost a year ago and it is desired to file corresponding applications
in non-US countries to protect patent rights in those countries
 a patent application was filed in a non-US country almost a year ago, and it is desired to file a
corresponding application in the US to protect patent rights in the US
 a PCT application was filed with a priority date almost nineteen months ago, and it is desired to file patent
applications in one or more of the designated countries to preserve patent rights in those countries
 a PCT application was filed with a priority date almost thirty months ago, and International Preliminary
Examination was requested, it is desired to file patent applications in one or more of the designated
countries to preserve patent rights in those countries
 a US patent is about to issue and it is desired to file a continuation or divisional application before the
issue date, so as to preserve patent rights in the US.

Where the subject matter is simple (e.g. an improved machine with three or four moving parts) the preparation of a
patent application may take only a few hours. With such applications it is essential that the inventors review the
draft carefully to see what else needs to be included. It often happens that upon review of the draft, the inventors
identify entire additional aspects of the invention that the attorney was not told about. These aspects have to be
included in the application, the claims are revised, and it is necessary to revisit the question of who the inventors
are (which is defined with respect to the claims) and a new inventor may be added or deleted. That inventor must
review the entire application as well, and perhaps more material is identified that needs to be added.