How to get your patent
There are several key steps to follow in order to obtain a patent:
Work on your invention and document the entire process. Keep a notebook that includes diagrams, ideas, modifications, etc.
Confirm that you have an invention, and not merely an idea. Do searches to confirm that your invention hasn’t already been patented or published by someone else.
Hire a patent agency. If you’re looking to conduct more detailed research and receive guidance throughout the patent process, an expert can help you along the way.
Go for a provisional patent application. This is an inexpensive way to give yourself time to fine-tune your invention. A provisional application has fewer requirements - for example, it doesn’t require claims. You do need to include a description of your invention. Drawings are advisable but not required.
Within one year, file a full (utility) application. The full application has more rules. For one thing it does require claims — they determine exactly which aspects of your invention you want protected. Along with the application, you can choose to submit a non-publication request, which will stop the US Patent Office (USPTO) from publishing your application 18 months after it is filed. Instead, your patent will only publish after it is granted as a patent.
Communicate with the USPTO. The US Patent Office may ask questions or raise objections to your application. Work closely with your patent agency to respond to the Patent Office — each response requires different steps if you wish to continue your patent application process.
The steps above aren’t necessarily set in stone. You may choose to follow some in a different order—for example, you could choose to hire a patent agency before you start your research, or conduct market research before you choose to develop your idea into an invention. .
If you have additional questions or need help with the patent process, click here.
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