Steps to Filing a Patent Application

Steps to Filing a Patent Application

After you make your invention come to life, it is important to protect your idea with a patent. If you do not secure a patent for your the product you invented, other companies can copy with little to no penalty at all. While you can hire a lawyer to take his process off your hands, you do not actually need one to file for a patent. The United States Patent Trademark Office has a specific set of rules, you can follow them and file for a patent on you own. Once you have brought your idea to life, follow the steps below to ensure that your idea is not stolen by a larger competitor.

1.Keep a careful record of your invention

As you are going through the process of bringing your idea to life, it is of utmost importance that you take careful note of the steps you take. You must describe and diagram every aspect of your invention including any modifications and how you came up with the idea of it.

2.Make sure your invention qualifies for patent protection

In order to avoid handing out patents to the masses for every idea that is thought up, you must be able to show that your invention works and is a new idea. Your invention must be unique to previous inventions and it cannot be for sale or known about before you apply for a patent.

3.Asses the commercial potential of your invention

Even if you decide not to hire a patent lawyer, it costs up to $1,500 in in fees to file with the USPTO. It is important to make sure that your invention is one of a kind and that it has a market.

4.Do a thorough patent search

One of the particulars the USPTO will check is if the patent is new or not. You know the most about your invention, therefore, you are the best person to start this research. You will want to search US and foreign patents, as well as scientific and technical journals.

You can use the internet or visit the Patent and Trademark Depository Library to find resources that will assist you in finding inventions similar to yours. On the chance that you find an invention similar to yours, you should make a point in the patent application o indicate how your invention is unique and better than the others.

5.Prepare and file an application with the USPTO

When you have gathered your materials and documents and are ready to file with the UTSPO, there a couple of decisions you will have to make. There are two types of patents, a regular patent application (RPA) or a provisional patent application (PPA).

Provisional Patent Application (PPA): Filing for a PPA allows you to claim patent pending status for the invention and involves less work and a lower cost than a RPA. What will you need to file for a provisional patent application?

  • Patent fee ($65 for micro-entities, $130 small entities, and $260 for large companies)
  • Detailed description of your invention
  • Steps of how to make and use it
  • Informal Drawing of your invention

The catch here is that you MUST file for an RPA within a year of filing the PPA. If you do not, you can no longer claim the PPA filing date.

Regular Patent Application (RPA): A regular patent application is the full deal. When you file for a RPA, the USPTO will begin the examination process.

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