The time required for a patent to be granted depends on the registration procedure and other factors that vary from country to country. In countries where no examination as to the substance of the patent application is conducted, the procedure will be fast, registering within a few months.
The basic term for the patent publication is 18 month from the patent application date. Unless the applicant asks for an early publication, the patent application is not made public earlier than 18 months. During this time, the applicant receives the Search report from the patent examiner. He can then study the report and decide if to proceed with patenting process further-on or to withdraw the application. If an application is withdrawn within a time limit of 18 months, it is never published in the patent databases and not accessible to the other third parties.
After the application is published, the examination starts. The patent examiner evaluates the novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability of every claim and gives his analysis about the invention. If the examination report is positive, the patent is issued. If examiner makes suggestions or corrections as to the patent text, the applicant may reply to the examiner and correct the application to some extent.
The examination process can take several months or even years. It depends, how the examiner evaluates the patent application and how many replies, amendments, corrections the applicant submits. The most common term for the patent to be issued and granted is 3-4 years. But there are patent applications, that are pending for 6-10 years.
However, in Europe, the temporary protection for the patent application is already given after the application is published. It means, that during the time the application is pending, the applicant can still claim his rights for the invention and prevent other parties to use the same technology.