If you are an inventor you will want to get a patent on your invention so no one else can steal your idea. In order to do so, you must be certain that idea is able to be patented first, and that it hasn’t been patented by anyone else prior to now. Then you must file your application with the USPTO or United States Patent and Trademark Office.
First off, what exactly is a patent? It is a right granted by the government that make it so the inventor has all the rights to their idea for a certain timeframe, which is normally about 20 years. If someone tries to steal your idea then they can be sued for damages.
There’s four main kinds of patents, which are:
- Utility patent – meant for inventions that serve a precise function. It’s the most common sort of patent available.
- Design patent – This type protects any non-working parts of an invention, i.e. a specific shape or some other type of aesthetic quality.
- Plant patent- For plants developed by someone or they discovered the plant and reproduced it.
- Software patent – Covers computer software programs.
Prior to getting a patent, you first must make sure no one else already has a patent on the type of invention you have created. That means you must start a search via the patent data base of the USPTO, as well as search the Patent Application database. You can do this online.
It’s also a good idea to look in places like scientific journals relating on your niche, as well as worldwide databases for patents other than in the US. If you find an invention similar to yours, you have to explain why yours is different or better or it can’t be patented.
In some cases you may not have perfected your invention, but you still want to be shielded from someone stealing your idea. If so, you can file a provisional patent application. That holds your place as it warns off anyone else from stealing your idea. This is good for a year from the filing date. In order to file a provisional patent application you must describe your invention, but it doesn’t have to be in as much details as a real patent application, however.
If you want a patent, you should hire a lawyer to help. While it is possible you could do it by yourself, there are skilled patent lawyers that know exactly how to do it in the best way, which can save you money, time and hassles. One of these hassles is the cost of getting a patent. This cost depends on the type of invention you have and usually start at about $140 if it is an individual inventor or a small business, but can double to $280 for large businesses.
But that is only the basic filing fee, and there are other costs related to getting a patent for your invention. Other facts decide the additional costs of getting a patent dependent on things like the way it’s filed, the number of claims, and the number of pages of the application. These fees can range from around $5,000 to more than $7,000 for your lawyer for a simple invention or more than double that if it is a complicated invention. The fees are high due to the skills and expertise of the patent attorneys.
Even after you file the paperwork to try to get a patent for your invention, it can be more than a year before you get an answer since the USPTO must conduct a search to make sure yours is the only application for this type of invention.
So, what are the steps for receiving your patent?
- First as you work on the invention, all the whole process (i.e. diagrams, notes, etc.) must be documented with signed entries witnessed by someone else, who also signs off on these details being accurate.
- Confirm it’s a real invention, not just some idea you have, and do the search to make sure no one else already has a patent for that invention.
- Determine if the invention is viable in a commercial way. Do some marketing study in your niche to see if it is monetarily feasible to get a patent.
- Get a patent lawyer to help you through the whole process.
- Submit the previously described provisional patent application.
- Submit the real patent application. This must content an abstract to summarize the upcoming data, background date describing the problem your invention fixes, a complete summary of what your invention is and does, a completely detailed description of the invention, and then conclude by explaining the advantages the invention you have can provide.
You additionally must include claims that decide precisely what factors of the invention is going to be protected by the patent. Plus you must include a non-publication request, as this keeps the USPTO from publishing your application eighteen months after you file it. Then, be sure to stay in touch with th USPTO in case they have any questions of you or your lawyer.
Plus you must create a prototype of the invention when you file for a patent. That provides tangible proof it works and it can be a drawing outlining the invention, a mock-up or model of it, as well as a fully functional model or if it is too expensive to do that, a virtual computer generated model of your prototype.
A patent application can be done by delivering the application in person, filing it electronically or doing it by mail. A first time patent filer also has to apply to get their Customer Number, which is used to correlate all your filings and any related correspondence. Once your patent is approved, you’d get what’s called a “Notice of Allowance,” which indicates that you will receive a patent once you pay the required Issue Fee. You can expect and that means you get the patent after paying any related fees required.
InventHelp is a firm specializing in aiding inventors in getting their idea patented and made into a real working product they can sell. They can get the inventor in touch with whomever is needed to make that happen. Here’s a few articles on them to read:
Remember the above tips if you are trying to get a patent on your invention or promote it to someone who will help you market it to the world. Via InventHelp, you can do all that easier and quicker, so contact them today.