How To Get A Patent
How To Patent An Idea
Many people ask, "How do you get a patent?" While fairly straightforward, the technical terms and legal aspects of filing a patent application can be confusing. We've attempted to outline the patent process step-by-step and include simple explanations of patent terminology you will encounter along the way.
Perform a Patentability (Prior Art) Search
Many people don’t realize just how much has already been patented. Even if you don’t see your invention on the shelves, that doesn’t mean it’s not already owned by another inventor. Because of this, Noro IP highly recommends getting a Patent Search done before applying for a patent. Some firms charge as much as $5,000 - $15,000 for an application for a patent and the complete process can take up to 3 years. But Patent Searches start at $600 and take anywhere from 1-2 weeks, saving you considerable time and money to determine if your invention is patentable and if filing a patent application is worth it.
An invention must be new, useful and non-obvious to get a patent granted. You can conduct a Patentability Search on your own using keywords and search terms using the free USPTO Patent Database or other patent databases. You will also want to search the USPTO’s Patent and Trademark Depository Library for other patent-related publications.
However, given that millions of patents exist, a Patent Agent, Attorney or Patent Firm will be more efficient at conducting a professional, exhaustive search that proves an invention to be new, useful and non-obvious.
Your Patentability Search done by a reputable Patent Agent or Attorney can answer the following questions:
a) Is your idea truly novel, has it already been patented, has it been anticipated or rendered obvious?
b) Is it worth the cost of filing a patent at all, given the scope of patentability and odds of success?
c) What is your competition doing?
d) Is it worth the effort and expense to fully develop and market your concept?
The results of the Patent Search will be printed on your patent and help to serve as evidence that your invention is novel over prior inventions. During the application process a Patent Examiner from the USPTO will also conduct a similar search, so it is best to know beforehand what type of patents they will uncover.
Visit our Patent Search page for more details on Noro IP's flat fee's for each type of patent search.
To Apply or not to Apply?
After analyzing all the related information from your Patentability Search and marketing and development research, you need to make a decision whether to apply for a patent or whether to continue developing your invention further. In the case of applying, you have several options available depending upon your time schedule, the invention’s need for protection and available funds. Your registered Patent Agent or Attorney can help you with professional recommendations, but the ultimate decision is yours as an inventor.
Filing a Patent Application
There are three major categories of patents you can apply for: Design, Plant, and Utility. The majority of Patent Applications are Utility Patent Applications and there are two types of Utility Applications: Provisional and Non-Provisional.
A Provisional Utility Patent Application provides immediate protection for your invention while giving you time to file a regular, Non-Provisional Patent Application. A Provisional Patent allows an inventor to claim "patent pending" status for the invention for 12 months at a fraction of the price of a regular Patent Application. Often five to ten pages, a Provisional Patent Application consists of text and drawings that describe how to make and use your invention.
It provides the inventor with a 12 month period to further develop the invention, determine marketability and seek licensing agreements. If you file a regular, Non-Provisional Patent Application within 12 months of filing the Provisional, you can claim the original Provisional filing date to prove that your invention came before other similar developments.
A Non-Provisional Patent Application is a regular Patent Application that will protect your invention for 20 years. A Non-Provisional Patent Application is more detailed than a Provisional Application and includes a full set of claims and patent drawings. It costs more than the Provisional to prepare and file and takes longer to process as well. The US Patent and Trademark Office has very specific requirements for preparing and filing a Non-Provisional Patent Application, which must include a data sheet; a specification; a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing, search, and examination fees.
There are many other legal nuances in the Patent Application process which can affect patentability and enforceability such as rules about who can apply for a patent, claim types and specific patent law definitions of new, useful and non-obvious. Noro IP can walk you through the entire process from start to finish.
Visit our Patent Application page for more details on how to get a patent, more specifics about each type of patent application and Noro IP's flat fee's for each service.
For a FREE consultation or additional information, call Noro IP at 1-800-605-6993.