When an application has been fully examined and approved for issuance, the Patent Office issues a Notice of Allowance. The Notice of Allowance does not confer patent rights, however. You must still respond to the Notice of Allowance by both paying fees and submitting paperwork to the Patent Office.
The paperwork filed provides final information about the application, the inventors, and the assignees or applicants. This information must be carefully filed out or it could jeopardize the entire patent. You must also pay the issuance fee and publication fee, if any, for the application to mature into a patent. The correct fees must be paid, of the application will be abandoned and you will not get a patent – something you definitely don’t want after having gone through the long process of successfully examining the application.
The Patent Office generally takes about 4-5 weeks once the issue fees have been paid to actually issue you a patent. In the meantime, it will send an Issue Notification letting you know when your patent will issue and what the patent number.
If you are going to file continuing applications – like a continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional application, now is the time. Continuing applications must be co-pending with the parent application, so they must be filed before the patent application issues as a patent. Most attorneys therefore request that clients instruct them to file these continuing applications before the issue fee paperwork is even submitted. The Patent Office also recommends that continuing applications be filed either before or with the filing of the issue fees and associated paperwork.