in 2015, there were 325,959 patents granted in the USA. Going by these numbers, it’s clear you’re not alone if you’re applying for a patent.
That said, being an owner of intellectual property can be a difficult thing, especially if you don’t protect it. Someone out there can decide to claim the idea as theirs, thus the need for protection.
You’ve probably heard of big companies like Apple and Samsung fighting over patents in court, each one them claiming the other stole their idea. As an inventor, you need to understand the patent application process.
What Is a Patent?
A patent is meant to protect an inventor by showing they own exclusive rights to a product or idea. In the US, a utility patent will last for 20 years from its application date, while a design patent will last 14 years from its application.
However, there will be some periodical fees to guarantee the enforcement of the patent.
Steps Involved in the Patent Application Process
Before patent application, there are a couple of things you should know. It is vital to have a lawyer when applying for a patent.
Here are the steps to take.
1. Select the Right Patent for Your Product or Idea
Choosing the right patent is among the most important patent application tips. There are different kinds of patents:
- A utility patent is for protecting a new invention.
- A provisional patent provides temporary protection for one year. The inventor is required to apply for utility protection before the year ends.
- Design patent is meant to protect ornamental designs. Ornamental design means the outlook of a product that’s already made.
2. Document Everything You’ve Done During the Invention Process
Keep records of everything that went towards coming up with product or idea, whether it is diagrams, tests, prototypes or proposals. Do not destroy anything that helps during invention.
3. Confirm That the Invention Can Be Patent Protected
Check with the authorities or go to their websites and read through qualifications. While checking, it is important to keep the idea to yourself. Confidentially is crucial, especially because you don’t have a patent yet.
4. Conduct a Patent Search
You cannot file for a patent on an idea or invention that is already patented by someone else. There are online tools, such as this useful product, that you can use to do a search.
5. Apply for a Patent
A patent application process does necessarily require an inventor to have legal help from a lawyer. However, having a lawyer, especially who is familiar with the patent application process, might be an advantage. There are charges involved in the process which vary from applicant to applicant.
Know the Patent Application Process
Understanding how to get a patent is something everyone inventor should know. Protecting your idea or invention is one of the best things you can do to keep it yours for a long time.
Keep reading our blog for more tips and insights.