If you have a new invention or idea, you probably want to protect it. One common way to protect what you have created is to obtain a patent. This is a complicated process that can take a lot of time and effort. The good news is that it is possible to be successful with the patent process. Here are the steps you can take to obtain and protect your idea or invention.
8 Steps to Obtain a Patent
Make sure you are the first person to come up with your idea or invention. This may be hard to think about, but before you start the process and fill out your patent application, you need to know what type of patent you have and whether it is unique or unique for the purposes you want to use it for. For instance, if a product is patented for one function, but another is determined, a second patent application can be filed. This is an important step before you approach the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Get yourself a good patent lawyer. While it is possible to get a patent application through the process, the best way to obtain a patent application is to talk to a legal professional with a lot of experience in this area. They can do plenty of things for you. They can:
- Help you draft your patent application.
- Make sure you get all the protections you need. For instance, if your idea or invention can be used around the world, you will need international patent protection.
- Guide you in the right direction and help you navigate the waters. Patent attorneys know the process, rules, and regulations. Having a good one by your side will save you time and money.
- They can tell you if you have a right to obtain a patent. Not all inventions and ideas can receive a patent. Experienced patent lawyers can answer this question for you.
Figure out what type of patent will work best for you. There are different kinds, and to obtain a patent, you have to apply for the right one. You have these kinds:
- Design patents.
- Plant patents.
- Utility patents.
Get your provisional application in. This can keep your idea or invention safe while it works its way through the patent process. It can be tedious and challenging, but it can also be a perilous time for your work. The provisional patent application will protect you for one year and will let you add the tag, “patent pending” to your marketing materials.
Get your stuff filed electronically. It is possible to obtain a patent by filing the application by mail or fax, but you will find it a lot easier to do it online. If you can be registered as an eFiler, you can just go through the USPTO’s website.
Get your stuff together. There are a lot of documents that need to be included with a patent application. You will need to make sure you have a definition of the scope of what you are trying to do. Let your patent lawyer help with this. You also need your:
- Overall summary
- An in-depth description
- A final piece with your conclusions about your invention or idea
Go through your application thoroughly before you send in your application. If you have typos, easily corrected mistakes, or other errors, you need to remove them before you file your application. These can easily derail your efforts and back you go to the beginning.
Be an active participant in the process. Once the USPTO has received your patent application, they will assign someone to it. They will send you correspondence on your application, and you and your lawyer need to get it back to them quickly. If you have a good lawyer, they should be able to do this, but you should not just file it and forget it.
Conclusion to Obtain a Patent
Like many other processes, the patent application process has changed a lot since the first patent was issued about 228 years ago. Today, the USPTO receives more than 500,000 patent applications every year. This shows how creative Americans are, but also how busy the office is. Be patient as you wait to obtain a patent. The process may be long, but it is worth it in the end. If you have further questions, you can visit our FAQ page.
Learn more about “Should You Hire a Patent Attorney?“, “Acquiring a Patent: 5 Frequently Asked Questions” and “The Hows And Whys Of Patent Pursuit“