How do I patent my invention? This is one of the most common questions an inventor asks. So to help, here is the Legend I.P guide to patenting your invention
I have my prototype invention, now what do I do?
You have just invented something so brilliant that everyone in America is going to be beating a path to your door to get their hands on it.
Your prototype is made, your specifications are on-point, and all that remains is to wait for that call from Time Magazine to feature your creation in their “Best Inventions” of the year.
Okay, so maybe we’re getting slightly ahead of ourselves. There are a bunch of steps before you can start taking over the world:
- Checking whether your invention is unique
- Establishing exactly what makes your invention new
- How do I stop copycats stealing my life’s work?
How do I check if my invention is unique?
The first stage is to conduct an initial search into similar inventions in your particular product category. This would involve a patent search where you are looking to see if your product has been patented already.
This can be done at the USPTO’s website or via the Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) which offers further assistance and other useful resources. The USPTO compiled a 7-step strategy guide, which details how to undertake this yourself.
Alternatively, if you are not experienced at performing patent searches, a registered attorney or agent is recommended.
You could always hire the help of a patent consultancy professional such as Legend I.P Consulting to manage the patent search process for you from start to finish.
You will receive an official search report and we’ll talk you through all the next steps in the process.
I would rather a professional handle it, where do I find a patent consultant?
Hiring outside help is the most common option for inventors.
Luckily, there are a wide variety of professionals working in this field. A simple Google search will usually return a large number of results.
We would also suggest selecting someone local and responsive as you will need to develop a good rapport and a level of trust with them – you are placing your invention baby in their hands after all!
Prepare for the initial meeting with your prospective patent consultant/patent attorney by:
- Researching the patent registration process (you’ve made a good start by reading this blog article!)
- Writing down everyone involved in the invention – the names of the inventors and their contributions.
- Write down a description of your invention – How does it work? What need does it fulfil? How is it unique?
- There is no such thing as being overprepared and ask lots of questions!
How do I File a Patent for my Invention?
Also known as “Pro Se” filing a patent application yourself can be a pretty complex process. There are a diverse range of laws, regulations, and procedures to navigate your way through. Without having a good deal of experience in the process, it’s not generally recommended going in this direction.
In the vast majority of cases, a registered patent agent or attorney should be hired to handle this process. (We can help)
If you are set on filing your own application, there are numerous useful resources available by clicking here.
What are the different types of patent and which one do I need?
A Utility Patent
Utility patent applications are the most common type filed in the U.S.
The criteria for Utility Patents comprise “anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof.”
In basic terms, if your invention is something completely new or an improvement on an existing product, this is the patent for you.
A Design Patent
Design patents are “granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.”
Examples of design patents therefore represent different aesthetic designs on products or packaging. A famous design patent example is the original curvy glass Coca-Cola bottle.
Design patents stop other companies copying the look of your product or branding.
A Plant Patent
This type of patent is “granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.”
And finally… A few Nuggets of Advice to Inventors
- Have realistic time expectations about how long this process will take. At the time of writing, 2 years is a realistic expectation from start to finish.
- If you have hired a professional, make sure that you carefully read the written specification and claims and are completely happy with everything. If you have any additional questions, make sure you ask. Do not sign the application papers until you are happy.
- A patent application can be a costly pursuit so be sure to research the costs involved. There is a basic fee, search fee, examination fee, and issue fee to consider before you factor in the patent attorney / agent fees (if you have hired one). Remember also that the type of patent application that you submit will also impact the bottom-line cost.
We are here to help
We hope that you found this guide on “How do I patent my invention?” useful and informative. Please do keep checking back for more updates, news, and helpful articles.
Legend I.P Consulting are Scottsdale based patent consultancy professionals that prides itself on a personal and responsive approach to business. We offer high quality services throughout the patent application process.
Contact us today to discuss your requirements and receive your no obligation quote.