The application procedure step-by-step

Submission of an application can be done in person or online. In the latter case, you should go to the SPTO website and enter the e-Office, where you will find the necessary instructions. Keep in mind that applications processed online have a 15% fee discount, as long as payment is made in advance electronically.

After submission, the SPTO will begin processing your application and will keep you informed of the actions you need to take using the preferred notification method indicated in the application. Therefore it is essential that you communicate any change in your mailing address or e-mail address.

The first notification you receive will be Acceptance for Processing of your application, which will inform you of the submission date.

Next, the SPTO will carry out an ex-officio formal and technical examination of the application. If there are any defects, you will be notified of this within two months so that you can rectify them. Otherwise, you will be notified that processing of the application is continuing.

At this point, so that processing can continue, you must request and submit payment for the State-of-the-Art Report (form IET1). The SPTO will prepare this report, which lists the state-of-the-art documents considered most relevant for appraising the novelty and inventive step in the application, and a preliminary and non-binding opinion as to whether the invention covered in the patent application meets the patentability requirements established by law. Once prepared, it will be sent to you immediately on a confidential basis.

Once you have read the State of the Art Report, depending on your patent-application strategy, you should decide whether you wish to continue the application procedure through the General Granting Procedure (without in-depth examination of the application) or through the Preliminary Examination Procedure (with an in-depth examination). You can also consider the possibility of modifying claims or even of withdrawing the patent application.

Your application will bepublished18 months after the submission date or on a priority basis, as applicable, as long as your application has passed the formal and technical examination and you have requested the IET. This publication will include the IET, if one was prepared. Otherwise, the IET will be published separately afterwards.

If the general procedure is used for processing the patent application, the patent will be granted at the end of the process, regardless of the content of the IET.

However, if the procedure involving a preliminary examination is used, granting or denial of the patent depends on the result of the in-depth examination and rectifications to address any objections raised in same.

If the patent (with a maximum duration of 20 years from the submission date) is granted, a three-month period will start following publication in the BOPI for you to pay the fees for concession rights and any accrued annual fees. Taking into account that the first and second annual fees are included in the application fee, the first annual fee you will have to pay will be the third. Later, to maintain the validity of the patent, you will be required to pay the corresponding annual fees each year. For detailed information on how to make these payments, you can consult the “Home/Utilities/Fees and public prices/Instructions for paying fees for concession rights and annual fees”.

Once you have obtained a patent, the SPTO continues to play an important role. First, it contributes to disseminating your invention, in the same way it was granted, which is no doubt helpful for making it known and possibly marketing it. Similarly, if you transfer or license the technology covered by your patent, you are advised to register these actions with the SPTO so that they are valid as far as third parties are concerned. On the other hand, if you have difficulties marketing it, you can offer to license your patent by offering a Full Licence. The SPTO will reduce the maintenance fee by 50% and publish your offer.

If you have any questions during processing, you can contact our Information and Citizen Assistance Service, by either calling 902 15 75 30 or sending an e-mail to Similarly, once your application has been published, you can monitor the processing status of your application at all times through this office's website (“Home/Databases/Application status” section).