I usually discuss the latest patents found in the news today. However, I thought it would be interesting and fun to talk about how one would go about patenting their own inventions. It is important to make sure that no one makes money by copying your invention and putting you out of business- you will need to patent it.
Patents are exclusive rights that are granted to inventors by their governments. It is a right to manufacture, sell and use the invention in question. Patents are valid for a number of years, so you will need to be very careful when applying for it.
If you make an invention and want to make sure that no one will be able to steal it and use for their own enrichment, you will need to take the following steps:
- Make sure no similar invention has been patented. In order to do this, you will need to study a great deal of public records and patents. This is a very complicated and time-consuming process. If you can afford it, you should hire a specialized patent attorney to do this research. A professional will know where and how to look. They will also understand whether the differences between your invention and the one that has already been registered are sufficient to get yours patented.
- File a provisional patent application. This will protect your rights during the period of time while you gather the funds or develop your idea further. Please note that you must actually have an invention you want to patent in order to get your intellectual property protected. A mere idea of an invention is not patentable. A provisional application is valid for 12 months.
- File a non-provisional application. It is possible to convert a provisional application into a non-provisional one. However, it will be more efficient to file two separate applications. This will allow you to extend the period of time your invention will be protected before you manage to patent it properly. It will be best to employ the services of a specialized attorney to help you with drafting and filing the application. Please note that a non-provisional application must include specific drawings and meet other format requirements set by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
- Pay the fees. USPTO charges certain fees for all non-electronic applications. You will need to consult their current fee schedule in order to know how much money you will need to pay. The amount will vary depending on the size of your organization and the number of claims. The fees are non-refundable. If you are granted your patent, you will need to pay an additional fee.
- Be patient. As the number of applications is huge, it may take an examiner one or even two years to reach your application. If it gets rejected, you will be able to amend it before the final decision is made.