Learn The Process and Steps of a Patent


Learning the process and steps of a patent can be challenging and at times unclear. However, it is important to understand the process and steps when obtaining the desired patent. Therefore, the process of getting a patent starts with an invention.

The invention needs to be new, useful, and non-obvious or be of a new aesthetic design. Once the inventor conceives of the idea, the inventor may be able to file for a patent application before proceeding to development of the invention. Once the inventor submits their application for a patent to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), they will generally receive an approval or denial letter from the USPTO within 1-2 years. If approved, their application will turn into a patent within about four months from the approval date.

Process and Steps of a Patent

To learn more about the process and steps of a patent, we have provided additional information below. Let’s begin!

What is a Patent?

The United States Constitution provides a particularly useful patent definition: “[Congress shall have power] to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”  Another patent definition is that patents are public-private partnerships. 

Process and Steps of a Patent
Protect your idea and keep it from being stolen.

Inventors share their discoveries in exchange for monopolies from the US Patent Office that. Under current laws, this last for 20 years.

Patents specifically protect inventions and innovations. If you have an idea for a physical invention or a new process, it has value to you because it has the potential for you to make money. That’s also true, however, for anyone who has the desire to make a profit from your idea.

This is why patents work. For example, pharmaceutical companies, for example, spend the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to invent and then safely bring life-saving drugs to the market because they know that they will make billions in revenue during the life of a patent. Then, after the patent expires, the entire World has access to cheap generic versions of the drug. When it works the way it’s supposed to, it’s a win-win.

How Does a Patent Protect Your Invention?

Process and Steps of a Patent
Let us help you submit an application for your patent.

Once you’ve submitted a patent application to the USPTO for review, your application is “patent pending”.

That gives you priority over anyone else who tries to implement your idea. If your patent pending becomes a registered patent, it also means that you can sue damages that accrued after the application date of the application filing. It also means that another inventor with the same idea or concept can’t come after you and get a patent for your invention.

If someone tries to steal or use your patented invention, a U.S. patent lawyer can file an injunction and pursue damages from the violator.

What Can Be Patented?

You can patent anything under the sun-so long as the idea is novel, non-obvious and useful. With respect to utility patents, the most common type of patent, your invention must be a:

  • Process: A mode of treatment of certain materials to produce a given result. It is an act, or a series of acts, performed upon the subject-matter to be transformed and reduced to a different state or thing;
  • Machine: A concrete thing, consisting of parts, or of certain devices and combination of devices;
  • Manufacture: A tangible article that is given a new form, quality, property, or combination through man-made or artificial means; or
  • Composition: A combination of two or more substances, and includes all composite articles.

Your invention must also be novel, or new, meaning that it is not covered under an existing patent.

What Cannot Be Patented?

You cannot patent abstract ideas or laws of nature and natural phenomena.

what is a patent?
Our attorneys can help you distinguish whether your patent is obvious or not.

Why not abstract ideas? Because courts recognize that the availability of basic concepts are important to the furtherance of knowledge and invention, inventors may not invent an abstract idea. Inventors can, however, patent an application of an abstract idea. For example, no one can obtain a patent for space travel, but they can get a patent for a particular type of rocket.

The reason for laws of nature and natural phenomena is because the USPTO does not issue patents for the laws of nature, natural phenomena, or the products of nature. Natural occurrences, like light, sound, and gravity cannot be the subjects of a patent application, but flashlights, speakers, and jet packs can.

Before You Apply For a Patent

Anyone who is considering applying for a patent should take these simple steps to ensure the best possible chance of success.

  • Document Your Invention – While you’re developing your invention and preparing your application for patent, you should keep meticulous records and make certain that they are in a secure location. This could be vital for if there are any future court challenges to your patent.
  • Make Sure Your Invention Qualifies – Your invention must be new, useful, and not obvious to members of the general public. If you have any concerns about this, you should consult a U.S. patent attorney.
  • Do a Patent Search – It’s important that you don’t expend time, energy, and money trying to get a patent for something that’s already protected under the law. Patent research can be time-consuming, but it will also save you time and possibly professional embarrassment before the application process. More importantly, even if a similar patent exists, your invention may still be patentable if you modify it to make it significantly different.

How to Obtain a Patent?

Obtaining a patent is the first step in protecting your invention. The process of obtaining a patent can be long and expensive, but it is worth it for the protection that you will receive.

The USPTO outlines the steps that your patent application goes through before it can be approved, and you receive a patent. The good news is that unless your patent is eventually rejected, your invention is protected from the point that it comes under review.

There are three main points to know before obtaining a patent:

  • Prior Art – Before the Patent Office can move forward with your application, the examiner will review both approved and abandoned third party applications. If your invention matches this “prior art,” it will be ineligible for patent.
  • Points of Novelty – In order to obtain a patent, the description of your invention must be both novel and distinct. Without examining the points of novelty, the USPTO would be issuing patents for wide categories of products, which could make pursuing claims problematic. In addition, the patent examiner must have a clear understanding of what your invention does and how it is different from existing inventions.
  • Enablement Requirement – Your invention has to be something that someone “skilled in the art” can make and use. This caveat ensures that the invention can be communicated to the public in a meaningful way.

Learn more about “8 Steps You Need to Take to Obtain a Patent”

Your Role In The Patent Process?

You don’t necessarily have to be an inventor to obtain a patent. The law recognizes several categories of applicants:

  • Inventor – The inventor can be a person, team, or a corporation, but the inventor is the entity responsible for the creation of the invention;
  • Owner – The inventor doesn’t automatically own the right to the product or patent. In many cases, an inventor is working for an employer who legally has the right to anything invented by that employee;
  • Client – If the inventor is in the employment of the client, the client will generally have contractual ownership of the invention if it’s within the scope of that legal arrangement.

Maintain Your Patent Over Time

It is important to renew your patent(s) before they expire. If you do not take this vital step, then your patent will expire.

Process and Steps of a Patent
Let us help you renew your patent license when it is due.

Registered patents must be renewed, with a maintenance fee, at 4 years, 8 years, and 12 years after registration. You can pay six months before the expiration date to renew your patent, but if you allow your patent to expire, your invention will be abandoned and unprotected unless and until your patent is reinstatement.

Overseas Patent Protection

Depending on the type of product and the scope of the market you’re envisioning, you may require patent protection in non-U.S. markets.

Unfortunately, a U.S. patent only protects you in the United States and the territories it has jurisdiction over. That may not be sufficient to protect your intellectual property.

Process and Steps of a Patent Conclusion

The process and steps of obtaining a patent can be simple for some, and for others maybe not so much. The Leavitt & Eldredge Law Firm patent attorneys can help answer any questions you may have about the patent process. We offer a Free Phone Consultation to help you get started.

FAQ’s
  • What is the process to patent a product?

    To patent a product, you must first ensure that your invention meets all the USPTO’s requirements. Then you must submit a patent application (make sure to document the invention and do a patent search).

  • What are the 3 requirements needed to get a patent?

    Your invention must be New, Useful and Non-Obvious.

  • What inventions can be patented?

    You can patent any invention as long as your idea is novel, non-obvious and useful. For utility patents, your invention must be a Process, Machine, Manufacture, or Composition.

  • What are the benefits of having a patent?

    Inventors can safeguard their intellectual property with the use of patents, which has many benefits. To begin with, patents can offer inventors protection against those who might attempt to copy or otherwise utilize their inventions without their consent. As a result, the creator may earn more money and their intellectual property will be more secure. Additionally, patents can be a useful instrument for market expansion, assisting in the early protection of a company’s intellectual property.

  • How long is a patent good for?

    A utility patent is typically awarded for 20 years from the date the patent application is filed; nevertheless, monthly maintenance fees are necessary to keep the patent’s enforceability.

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