Filing a patent ensures that no one can legally steal your ideas or inventions. This is our society’s way of making certain the first one to “act” on new marketable concepts get the credit. You have come up with a new product or a technological advance that fills a need and patent filing gives you the exclusive rights. The system encourages creativity and makes sure no one can steal your hard work and benefit from it.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office aka USPTO strictly enforces the multitude of rules and regulations for the patent application process. The recommended choice to file your patent application is to attain the services of a patent attorney, but there are agents, submission services, and software that allow you to do it yourself.
That choice usually boils down to money, but making sure this is done correctly could be the best investment you can make. No matter which angle you take for filing patents, the process, paperwork, or timetables don’t change. Here are the steps for patent filing:
Determine If Your Invention Is Patentable
The first step to filing a patent involves whether your invention is patentable. It must fit into one of three categories for types of patents: utility, design, or plant. Then it must also meet three prerequisites: novelty, non-obviousness, and utility. Everything is not patentable and you want to find out early in the process before investing time and resources.
Perform A Patent Search
The next step for the invention and filing a patent involves performing a patent search. You want to see if someone else has beaten you to the punch. It is a very good chance somebody has patented your idea already but we hope not and that we are completely unique. The USPTO patent search database where you just enter your search term for your invention and are supplied results with full text and images.
Submit Your Application
You can submit a provisional patent application or regular patent application. The provisional patent establishes a priority date while you research the marketability or gauge the interest in your invention. This allows you to use the terms “patent pending” and “patent applied for” as a warning to infringers that they can be liable for damages, seizure, and injunctions.
You have a one year deadline to decide to move forward with the regular patent application. When filing a patent, you must be detailed in your description, offer drawings on how it’s made, and pay the appropriate fees. This is where the expertise of a patent attorney or patent agent can offer you peace of mind.
After the application has been accepted, you will gladly remember the day you decided to proceed with filing a patent. You now have the exclusive rights to your invention. Now you can concentrate on patent protection and making money. You can bring the invention to market yourself or offering licensing rights where you get paid on the backend.
Depending upon your industry and product, learning how to get a patent on your own can be an overwhelming task. For this reason, inventors often enlist the services of a competent patent law attorney. This is the recommended action to safeguard your invention.