If you’re looking to claim a business name, you are probably looking to obtain a trademark. If you wrote a book, song, or play, you want to obtain copyrights. However, if you invented the next big thing and want to make sure no one else makes money from your idea, you need to patent your invention as soon as possible.
In other words, the government grants inventors a monopoly on their invention for a set period of time. They give inventors exclusive rights for manufacturing, selling, and using the invention for any other benefits. So, in the end, a patent will ensure that your idea will remain exclusive to you, and no one will be able to steal or use it for profit.
Nevertheless, you also have to be aware of patent trolls. Patent trolls make a career out of buying patents and bullying inventors and companies into lawsuits. So, even if you decide to work with a patent attorney, you must get familiar with the patent process to most effectively protect your idea.
How to File a Patent
- Do your research through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Before you move forward with your invention, you must make sure your idea hasn’t already been patented. Use the USPTO search engine to determine whether your idea is something you can patent.
- Find and get the help of a patent attorney.
You will have a smoother application process with the help of a qualified and experienced attorney. They can help you avoid making mistakes that could cost you money down the road.
- Consider the type of patent you may need.
Determine what type of patent you will need as there are various to choose from. Depending on your invention or idea, you may need a utility, plant, or design patent.
- Make sure to file a provisional patent application.
As many inventors know, the U.S. patent process works for those who filed first—not for those who invented first. So, if someone claims they invented the idea before you, the provisional patent application will prove you filed first.
- Register as an eFiler.
Although you can file your patent application by fax or mail, the easiest way to file is on the USPTO website. Make the process easier by registering as an eFiler and staying up to date with what’s expected of you and your application.
- Collect the necessary information for your formal application.
In the formal application process, you will need to prepare a specification, including an abstract, background, detailed description of your invention, summary, and conclusion. Your conclusion should also include the scope and ramifications. Even more, you will need to be able to spell out the legal scope of the patent, making a patent attorney extremely valuable. Unless you are entirely and undoubtedly confident in your ability to complete all these tasks correctly and independently, it is in your best interest to hire a patent lawyer.
- Finish and review your formal application.
On average, the patent application process takes anywhere between one to three years. Therefore, it is crucial that you don’t get rejected for silly and preventable errors or mistakes.
- Stay Engaged in the Patent Process.
One patent examiner will be assigned to your case. So, you must respond to any correspondence or requests you receive from them as soon as possible. However, if you do have an attorney, the USPTO will be in direct communication with them. In this case, you should keep in touch with your lawyer and get your updates there. You may also be able to speed up the application process by contacting your patent examiner directly. Arranging an interview or video conference to discuss any of their concerns may help the process go faster.
You can file an appeal with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board if your application is rejected twice.
Stanzione & Associates, PLLC is an intellectual property law firm with over 30 years of experience protecting corporate entities, start-ups, and individual inventors. Stanzione & Associates, PLLC stands above other Intellectual Property law firms because of Mr. Stanzione’s extensive experience working at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as a supervisory level patent examiner. At Stanzione & Associates, PLLC, we have the insight and long-term relationships with the USPTO to work well with patent examiners to achieve quality patents.