Inventing is a difficult process, but understanding when to file for a patent can be even more challenging. To help you decide when you're ready to file, here are five simple steps to obtaining a patent. The process of obtaining patent protection involves issuing an opinion on patentability, preparing and filing the patent application, processing the patent application, issuing, abandoning or appealing the patent application, and paying maintenance fees. The first step in the patent process is the patentability assessment, which includes a search for the state of the art.
During this search, an opinion is developed on whether the patent office agrees to grant a patent on the invention. It's important to disclose any relevant information you know to the patent office, even if you don't go out looking for references from the previous technique that could invalidate your patent. The next step is to ensure that your invention meets all the requirements of the USPTO. This includes documenting your invention and conducting a patent search.
After filing your patent application, you must pay maintenance fees 3 and a half years, 7 ½ and 11 ½ years after the patent was issued. The USPTO outlines the steps your patent application must take before it can be approved and you receive a patent. Applying for a patent is a long and sometimes complex process, but it can be broken down into these five steps:
- Understand your invention - What aspect (or aspects) of the invention make it new and useful?
- Conduct a patent search - Look for references from previous techniques that could invalidate your patent.
- Ensure your invention meets all USPTO requirements - Document your invention and conduct a patent search.
- File a patent application - Submit all necessary paperwork to the USPTO.
- Pay maintenance fees - Pay fees 3 and a half years, 7 ½ and 11 ½ years after the patent was issued.
To ensure the best possible chance of success, anyone considering applying for a patent should take these five simple steps outlined above.