When should I apply for a patent?

When should I apply for a patent?

The United States, like other countries, has a first-to-file patent system, so you should file your patent application as soon as possible.

  • Patents are granted to the first inventor that files for patent protection for a particular idea.

  • In the US, you must file within one year of the first public disclosure of your invention. In other countries, you must file before any public disclosure.

  • So filing fast is great — but it’s too early if you can’t explain how your invention will be implemented.

To avoid legal disputes and “patent trolls,” our recommendation is to file your patent application before you tell others about your invention — even before discussing it with investors, partners, etc.

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to make or implement your invention before you file for patent protection. Many valuable inventions are protected by patents even before the first working prototype is constructed. A basic design is enough to file your patent. However, you are only allowed to file if you can describe your invention with enough detail that someone in your technical area could reproduce it.

If you would like to know more about when to file for a patent, contact us!


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