If you’re working on an invention, you’ve likely heard of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Statistics gathered from 2016 that the USPTO was able to issue 303,051 patents for that year. Consider that total, this doesn’t account for the number of patents sent in that are denied. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the USPTO has fairly long waiting time for patent approval. Considering that, here are the main steps needed to correctly apply for a patent.
Document Everything Related to Your Invention
One of the most important things to remember while applying for a patent is to keep track of your records. These records in regard to your invention can consist of many materials. For instance, many inventors find it simple to keep a daily log or journal. This allows them to easily write down any information that pertains to their respective inventions. If you want to take extra safety precautions, date your entries.
Prove Your Invention Meets Certain Criteria
There are three things that must be proven in order to receive a patent for your invention. Your invention must be useful, novelty, and not obvious. Meeting these three criteria mean that you likely have something worth patenting. That being said, this is where many inventors seek out patent lawyers. Proving your invention meets the previously mentioned criteria can feel overwhelming. Therefore, a lawyer can help you navigate through this tricky area of the patent process.
Search Through Previously Filed Patents
Of course, it’s impossible for someone to know off the top of their head whether or not their inventions are truly unique. While believing that your invention is unique is important, it must be proven. With that in mind, you’ll need to search through patents that are similar to yours. This is another part of the patent process where lawyers are commonly called upon for assistance.
Pay the Required Fees
Filing a patent with the USPTO does require the payment of certain fees. Therefore, another important step in this process is having your fees prepared. It’s important to ensure you’re sending in the right amount for your patent. The USPTO defines patents as those either meant for design, plant, or utility purposes. Knowing which fees are needed for your patent helps to eliminate the risk of your application being denied and sent back.
In conclusion, there are several important steps that must be followed during the patent process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed while preparing your patent application, this is an understandable feeling. The sheer volume of patents being sent to the USPTO each year means that it’s important to ensure your application is initially correct. Many people find that have someone with knowledge of patent law on their side helps to make this entire process much easier.