Patent prosecution is the interaction between a person applying for a patent (either the inventor or his representative, usually a patent lawyer) and the patent issuing office. In the United States, the issuing office would be the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

This 'interaction' includes, but is not limited to, the process of filing the patent, searching for prior art, responding to objections and rejections of claims, and paying the associated fees.

Patent prosecution is distinguished from patent litigation in that patent litigation involves two opposing parties arguing some matter, such as who has rights to a certain invention, in a court of law. Patent prosecution involves a single party and the USPTO (or the respective country's patent office).

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