You’ve just created an incredible product or new process that can transform someone’s life. You are afraid to make your invention public because you don’t know if others will steal it. The first thing you need to research is a comprehensive guide on how to file for a patent.
A patent will grant you a government license that makes you the sole owner and manufacturer of your invention. As a result, if someone make use of your idea without permission, you can take legal action against them. As a patent attorney who has worked with numerous startups over the past twenty years, I provide important tips and guide to aid you understand the process of preparing and filing for a patent to protect your go-to-market plan and increase your company valuation with IP assets.
Table of Content
What is Patent Filing?
Patent filing or patent registration is the first step an inventor takes to protect his/her invention from being misused. Any individual or company that wishes to protect an invention should file a patent protection application. In this way, the patent can protect the new product or a new method.
After you have completed the outline of a patent application and verified that it accurately represents your invention, it’s time to file your application at the appropriate Patent Office. While it is best to complete the process quickly, you also need to be thorough.
Most importantly, it is wise to have an intellectual property expert provider like PatentPC attorneys’ to maximize your application chances of patent issue. Below, we’ll be discussing the different types of patents, benefits, and the steps to complete the filing process with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Before patenting a product or service, an inventor should conduct thorough market research to determine potential areas of market opportunity. By examining current market trends, an inventor will be able to identify unmet needs and potential gaps, as well as key issues that may arise as a result of commercializing their invention. In addition, thorough market research will uncover potential buyers and licensees for the patentee’s product.
Using market research will allow the patentee to identify similar products and evaluate their profitability and commercial viability. It also allows the inventor to determine potential areas of contribution and underserved markets. Market research also helps an inventor assess whether their invention has a competitive advantage in the market and can successfully compete against the competition. If a similar product or service already exists in the market, the applicant can modify their invention, patent application, and marketing to make it more appealing to consumers.
In addition to conducting market research, an inventor should consider the feasibility of the invention. A competitive marketplace will make the process of securing a patent more difficult. Besides determining the feasibility of the invention, an inventor should develop a business plan for their product. In some cases, this research will require a modification of the product or service. Once an inventor has completed this step, he can proceed with filing the patent application.
Benefits of Filing a Patent
Filing a patent has many benefits. First, it protects your invention from infringement. After registration, your patent is valid for up to 20 years. This helps you to build your brand and protect your product from potential competitors. The following are some of the benefits for filing a patent:
Image Credit: Unsplash
Benefit #1: Ownership
A patent grants you ownership rights to innovation for a specified period. A patent granted for 20 years would, for example, give you complete ownership of your product during the period of time from the date you filed your patent application. This allows you to block others from using, making, or selling your product.
Benefit #2: Foster Business Growth
Patents are a way for businesses to grow, as they help increase the value and quality of your products. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and have a patent product, raising capital from investors will be much easier. Moreover, you can also increase their market share due to their monopoly position.
Benefit #3: Be ahead of the competition
Having a patent for your technology will ensure that you stay one step ahead of your peers. In addition, patents prevent others from using your technology to create new products. This benefit of a patent is useful to deter competitors.
Benefit #4: Get royalty
As an Innovator you have the option to license your patent products to other companies and receive a royalty. As a result, it empowers you to expand your business into markets you might not be able to access immediately.
Benefit #5: Avoid litigation
Innovators are always working to develop new technologies in competitive areas of research. Hence, these technologies might overlap or be similar. But, patents for your technology can protect you against claims of infringement. To cross-reference your patents, you can work with an innovator working on similar innovations. In this case, both parties benefit.
What Are the 3 Types of Patents?
Patents protect inventions, discoveries, and inventions that are original and non-obvious. There are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Each type has its eligibility criteria and protects one type of invention. However, one invention can have more than one type. For example, if a person creates an object and wants to patent its functional features and design, they will need to apply for two patents (both utility and design patents). Below is an overview of the three types of patents available under U.S. patent law.
A utility patent covers new and useful processes, compositions, machines, and manufacturing techniques. You can also attain a utility patent for improvements and new uses of existing processes, compositions, machines, or manufacturers. A process is an act or method of performing something. Usually, it involves industrial or technical processes. Chemical compositions are chemical compositions that can contain a combination of ingredients or new chemicals. Further, machines can be anything, including a computer.
A design patent is a “surface ornamentation” on an object. This could include its shape or configuration. This type of patent protection needs the design to be separate from the object to acquire the rights. A design patent only protects the object’s exterior, but you should separate the object and its design. You will require a utility patent to protect an object’s functional and structural aspects.
To protect unique and new plants, one should obtain a plant patent. To obtain this type of patent, the plant must not be a tuber-propagated plant i.e.; the plant cannot be found in an uncultivated form (e.g., an Irish potato). Asexual reproduction is when the plant is not reproduced from seed but instead by cutting or grafting it. Asexual reproduction is required for plant patents because it proves that the applicant can reproduce the plant.
Types of patent applications
There are two types:
- Non-provisional patent application
- Provisional patent application
provisional patent applications
A Provisional Patent Application is filed to establish an early filing date of an invention. It contains details about the invention and relevant drawings that explain how you can make and use your invention. Provisional patent applications however are filed without the need for formal patent claims, declarations, or information disclosure (prior art).
The provisional patent application provides an applicant with a “patent in progress” for a one-year period. The provisional application ceases to be valid after the one-year deadline. In order for its provisions to extend beyond the 12 months of the provisional patent, you must file for a non-provisional patent.
There is no extension for the 12-month period. Therefore, you must file a corresponding non-provisional application during a 12-month dependency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier provisional application filing.
Non-provisional Patent Application
A non-provisional patent application is usually considered to be the “regular” utility patent application”. This is what you need to file in order to have the USPTO review your utility application and grant your patent. That is to say, It sets the filing date for the patent application and initiates the examination process.
A non-provisional patent may or may not result in the grant of a patent depending upon the outcome of an examination by the patent office examiner.
Written specifications on Patent Filing
The application for patent protection must include a written specification for both provisional and non-provisional utility patent applications. It is usually divided into the following sections.
- Title for the Invention.
- Cross-Reference To Related Applications – which identifies all U.S. patent applications prior to the application from which the applicant may have benefited.
- Background of Invention – that describes the “technical area” of the invention. It also provides information such the problem solved by the invention, known technology, and any failures of prior art to address these problems adequately.
- Summary Of The Invention – This provides a summary or general statement about the invention and often highlights the invention’s benefits and solves a design problem.
- A Brief Description of the Drawings that describes the subject matter in one or more accompanying illustrations.
- A Detailed Description of The Invention describes the best way to practice the invention and gives enough detail to allow those skilled in it to copy and practice it. Cross-references are provided to any drawings.
- Claims, that describe the invention to which it is to be protected. Non-provisional patent applications must contain at least one claim. Provisional patent applications do not require claims to be submitted. This section is crucial and defines the legal scope for protection sought.
- Abstract Of The Disclosure -This summarizes the disclosed embodiments to aid in searching for relevant prior art.
- Drawings, that illustrate the examples in the detailed description section.
- Declaration or Oath – where each inventor declares that they are the inventors of the subject matter in the claims and that they have made or authorized the patent application.
How To File For A Patent? (Comprehensive Guide)
Image Credit: Unsplash
Patents are issued only if the invention or discovery is “new and useful.” U.S. Patent Law states that an invention cannot be patented if it is not already known to the public or if another patent application or patent was filed with the same claim.
WIPO applies the principle of “first to file”, regardless of whether you are filing a utility or design patent. This means that the patent protection rights will be granted to the first person to file a patent for an invention or design.
Patent filing can be expensive and time-consuming. If you want to get a patent, it is important to begin the process as soon as you can. The USPTO may take between 13 and 18 months to receive your first notification. In addition, the entire process from filing to issuance can take up to 30 months.
The USPTO has provided a comprehensive guide to follow before you file for a patent:
- Find out if your invention is already patented.
- Find out which patent applies to your invention (utility, design, or plant patent).
- Decide whether to file locally or globally.
- You can decide whether you want to file the patent yourself or hire a patent attorney to do it for you.
After that, you will be able to submit your online application to the USPTO. First, you will require to apply for a customer number (digital certificate) and pay any applicable fee.
The USPTO will review your electronic application and determine whether it is worth the protection. If your patent application has been denied, you may have to file appeals and reconsideration requests.
You will require to pay the USPTO’s publication and issue fees as well as maintenance fees at specific intervals after your patent issue. Below we discuss the cost of filing a patent.
How Much Does Filing a Patent Cost?
Image Credit: Unsplash
A patent application cost can be broken down into three parts: filing fees, drawing fees, and lawyer fees. Patents can cost from $900 for a DIY application to $5,000-10,000+ with the assistance of patent attorneys.
In addition, the complexity of a filing will determine the cost of the intellectual property attorney fee. These are the average fees law firms charge for filing a utility patent application. These costs do not include amendments after rejection by the USPTO of an initial application. As a result, additional attorney fees might apply. In addition, each round of amendments requires more fees from attorneys.
During the patenting process, you must consider possible objections and make sure your application contains all the relevant information. In the United States, patents may be denied because they do not cover certain laws of physics, abstract ideas, or things found in nature. For example, Samuel Morse tried to patent the Morse Code, but his claim was rejected because electromagnetism is not an invention.
While there are a few ways to avoid objections, you need to first understand what they are. While some patent examiners use the terms rejection and objection interchangeably, they refer to two different types of denials. Objections are denied when a claim is not based on the invention and can be appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board or the Director of the USPTO.
Now Over to you
PatentPC consults with you to help determine the best filing strategy to suit your business’s short-term and long-term goals. Therefore, No matter how many patent applications you need or how large your IP portfolio is, we can offer customized solutions to help you establish patent protection. For more information for a comprehensive guide on filing for a patent, contact us.