Inventors Insider: 3 Things Inventors Should Consider Before Filing for a Patent
If you’ve ever looked into filing a patent application, you know that patent process can appear to be overwhelming. From the importance of selecting the right patent for your invention to the need for confidentiality agreements, any misstep in the process may result in the rejection of the patent application by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) or the loss of patent rights. To avoid common and unnecessary mistakes, here are five things that inventors, entrepreneurs, and technology companies should know and understand before filing a patent application.
Hire an Attorney
Although the USPTO has resources for inventors who seek to patent their invention themselves, you will not be doing yourself any favors by circumventing a patent attorney’s involvement. All U.S. patent attorneys are registered through the USPTO and can lend their expertise, knowledge, and understanding of the complexity that is the patenting process. Your patent attorney will also be able to give you legal advice on other aspects of the invention and patenting process, as well as your business goals and plans for commercialization. If you have an idea that is worth patenting, then the investment in hiring a patent attorney to file your patent application will be worth it.
A proper patent search is the first step in the patent application process. A patent search can help you determine if your idea is unique before you pour time, money, energy, and resources into developing the invention. Remember: just because you haven’t seen it on the market, doesn’t mean that a patent has never been filed.
Patent searches create a great opportunity for you to discover what aspects of your invention are patentable and unique and will also help your patent attorney develop the scope of your patent claims. Patent searches eliminate some of the guesswork behind whether the patent application stands a chance before the USPTO. Of course, there is no way to know for sure, and it is necessary to take some level of risk, but a patent search will inevitably lead to the creation of a better product and a better application, and can also help you determine if the process is worth the time and expense.
Provisional Patent Applications
There is a lot to be said about provisional patent applications, but the most important is that provisional patent applications are your friend. The United States is a “first to file” country. That means that your patent application should be filed before you disclose your invention, demonstrate it in public, or offer it for sale. If you The USPTO grants you a twelve-month grace period from the first public disclosure of your invention to file your patent application. The risk of waiting to file a patent application may result in losing your ability to obtain a patent. That is where provisional patent applications come in.
With any invention, there will always be a variety of conceptions and reductions to practice. The best practice, however, is to file a provisional application as soon as you have an invention that can adequately be described in words and drawings. Filing a provisional application is also viable option when you do not have the money to prepare and file a proper non-provisional patent application. Although there is no requirement to file formal patent claims, an oath, or a declaration, you will be required to file a proper non-provisional patent application within twelve months from the date the provisional application is filed. File first. File often. Even if that means filing a series of provisional patent applications prior to filing the non-provisional patent application.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Please consult a registered patent attorney for specific patent law questions that you may have.