How do I patent a product?

Get ready for the long haul, because patenting your invention can be a lengthy and expensive process. It starts with ensuring that your product is new, useful and non-obvious. What’s new, useful, and non-obvious to each person may vary, which is why many people conduct a professional patent search at this point. Either way, you should search the internet yourself to see if there is anything like your idea out there, or something close enough that it would render your product non-original. It should go without saying, but make sure to keep the product a secret during this time as well, not only because people may rip you off, but also because the more public you make your product, the less likely you will be granted a patent.

At this point, you may want to also consider whether you even need a patent in the first place. As mentioned earlier, patents are not cheap to obtain. It can be a very substantial amount of money if you are unsure whether or not your idea will lead to commercial success.

The next step is to file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The actual application is a written document, usually with detailed drawings, that has to meet stringent legal and technical criteria. This involves a detailed description of how to make and use the invention that can be understood by someone who works in the field, and legal claims that define the scope of legal protection.

Once you have filed the application, it gets examined, at which point it is either approved, rejected, or temporarily rejected due to the need for additional documentation or other actions. You can then amend the claims of the application (provided you haven’t added anything new since last time) and present your arguments to overcome the rejection. The examiner will then either allow the application or reject it again. This back-and-forth goes on until, ultimately, either you give up or you are granted a patent. As we mentioned, it can take a number of years, so patience is key.

You probably want to know how much this all costs. There are three basic fees for patents – the filing fee, which is non-refundable whether or not a patent is granted, the issue fee, which is paid once your application is allowed, and maintenance fees, which are paid at four year intervals AFTER your patent has been granted for 3 ½ years (simple, right?). On top of all this, additional fees may be required. The current fee schedule is online here.

Writing and filing patent applications is a highly specialized skill, not to mention quite a bit confusing for first-time applicants; you can do it yourself, but you will be much better served hiring a professional from the start. Visit LawTrades a free consultation and quote from experienced patent lawyers. We typically advise against “doing it yourself” as it is so time and money intensive. Good luck with your invention and feel free to message me w/ any further questions.

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