Many inventors stumble into an idea or a product and don’t know where to go from there. They create the next big thing but don’t understand the legal work necessary to claim and protect this invention as their own. You should be knowledgeable about what the patent process entails so that the process runs smoothly and is successful. So what do you do with your spectacular invention?
- Ideas Alone Are Not Patentable – First and foremost, you should understand that you will need to have a tangible invention that can be explained in detail before attempting to file a patent.
- Begin With A Patent Search – Before filing your own patent, you should search to see if there are any patents that have already been filed for products like yours. It would be in your best interest to hire a professional to conduct this search. This search will let you know whether your product has a chance at being protected or not.
- File A Provisional Patent Application – If your product is not yet complete, you have the option to file a provisional patent application. The United States uses a first-to-file system, so if you are worried about others sharing similar ideas, this application may be in your best interest. This application can be especially useful for anything related to computers or technology. Your patent-pending status will only be useful for what has been submitted. Further product developments will not be protected until you re-file.
- File Your Nonprovisional Patent Application – Once your product is fully developed, you should submit a nonprovisional patent application. To secure a patent, you will have to prove that your invention is new and non-obvious. But, you will also have to show that your product is useful. You will need to be able to provide drawings and explanations in enough detail that someone with a moderate background in your product’s field will understand how to make and use the invention. Your application will be reviewed by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Once you file, you cannot add anything new to the application. Eventually, you will be issued a First Office Action on the Merits, which explains what the examiner thinks is patentable.