The thrill and gratification of creating something unique are unparalleled. Nevertheless, the essential step to secure your ingenious invention – getting a patent – can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the process. How to patent an invention idea?
Before we journey into the realm of patenting, understanding what a patent is, is of utmost importance. Essentially, a patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state or an intergovernmental organization to an inventor or assignee for a limited period in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention.
An invention is a solution to a specific technical problem, and it is associated with a product or process. It is vital to establish that not everything invented can be patented. It must be new, useful, and non-obvious to a person skilled in that art.
Conduct a Thorough Patent Search
The first feasible step towards patenting your invention is by conducting a comprehensive patent search. This can appear to be an onerous task, but it’s fundamental to avoid any infringement and unpleasant surprises down the line. It helps to know whether a similar or identical patent has been filed or granted.
You can perform the search yourself or hire a professional for thorough scrutiny. Many databases are available online, the most notable one being the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Prepare a Prototype
A prototype is the first full-scale and functioning model of your invention. Though not mandatory, they can be beneficial when it comes to explaining your invention in the patent application. It is also useful when presenting your concept to potential investors.
Writing the Patent Application
Writing a patent application is a meticulous process. Be prepared to include detailed information about your invention that covers every angle. There are broadly two types of patent applications, “Provisional” and “Non-provisional”. A provisional application is less formal, less expensive, and gives you a ‘patent pending’ status. On the other hand, a non-provisional patent application is formal, requires claims, and starts the official examination process.
The patent application comprises several components like the Title of the Invention, Field of Invention, Background, Summary, Brief Description of Drawings, Detailed Description, Claims, Abstract, and Drawings.
Examination of the Patent Application
The examination of the patent application is where the patent office reviews and decides whether your invention meets all patentability criteria. It’s essential to communicate closely and respond promptly to the examiner’s queries or objections during this process.
Getting Help From Professionals
Although not necessary, it is recommended to employ the expertise of a patent attorney or a patent agency, such as InventHelp. They can help avoid pitfalls and guide you through the process, ensuring that your patent application adequately guards your invention.
Filing the Patent Application
Once the application is ready, you can file it with the USPTO. You will pay a fee at filing, after which your application will be reviewed. Patent applications follow a particular format and sequence which can be found on the USPTO website.
Following the filing, you will wait for a response from the examiner. In case your application is rejected, which is quite common in the first instances, you have the opportunity to amend it according to the examiner’s report.
Upon patent approval, you will be required to pay an issuance fee. The patent is typically issued within a few months after the fee is paid.
Finally, once the patent is granted, it’s not the end of the adventure. The maintenance fees must be paid to keep the patent alive, typically over 4, 8, and 12 years after the date the patent was granted.
Patenting an invention is indeed a long, complex, and sometimes expensive process. However, with this guide, we hope you have a clearer understanding of how to protect your intellectual property. Remember, InventHelp is always there to assist you at each step to patent your inventive idea.