Updated November 12, 2020:

Are you confused about how to patent a hair product? You can get assistance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as it requires patent examiners to assist inventors. Getting a patent requires the following steps:

  1. Document each step of your invention process.
  2. If possible, build a test prototype.
  3. Add your signature and the date at the end of each entry and have two people you trust as witnesses sign your entries.
  4. Make sure that your invention is eligible for patent protection.
  5. Make sure that your invention is unique, unknown, and not for sale.

The USPTO charges $1,500 to issue a patent, so assessing the commercial potential of your product is essential. You need to perform thorough research in your field in the U.S. and abroad for earlier patents to make sure your product is unique.

The USPTO offers you two types of patent applications: a regular patent application (RPA) and a provisional patent application (PPA). Filing for a PPA is less costly and time-consuming and also permits you to claim a “patent-pending process” as you are busy with your invention.

The PPA application fees are $65 for micro-entities, $130 for small entities, and $260 for large companies. You must file for an RPA no more than a year after filing for a PPA as this will allow you to claim a PPA filing date. Filing for an RPA is the first process in obtaining a patent at the USPTO.

Background of Patenting Hair Products

Obtaining a formulation patent can be rewarding to any cosmetic chemist. Not only can you add this to your resume, but you will also be able to have your name in the official documents of the U.S. patent office.

Reasons to Not Patent Your Hair Product

  • It doesn't prevent someone from copying your invention.
  • Patents in the cosmetic industry do not benefit the inventor much.

You can use that money you would have spent on patenting a product in other avenues:

  • Promoting your product
  • Advertising
  • Public relations occasions
  • The packaging of your product
  • Additional efforts in building the brand

If you wish to effectively sell your product, you need to develop a unique trademark. A branding expert and T.M. attorney can help.

The First Black Woman to Own a Natural Hair Product Patent

Gwen Jimmere is the first black female to obtain a patent. She developed a hair product for curly and kinky hair. The USPTO gave Jimmere a patent for her Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment. In just one step, the product cleanses, conditions, deep conditions, and is a leave-in conditioner and detangler. The product is now sold in Whole Foods stores in the U.S. and internationally.

Obtaining intellectual property is essential for your brand as it can assist in strengthening consumer loyalty and brand recognition. Regular interaction with your consumers is essential for building brand recognition. Have discounts, Q&A, and blog interaction, as well as social media interaction.

A business needs to have at least one trademark. The USPTO charges $275 to $325 for registration in this first step of brand protection. Besides patents, there is also an intellectual property named “trade secrets.”

Register your domain name, create excellent search engine optimization, and make certain that no violation to your business's brand or name has occurred. It is important to be careful of the content you share online. You also need to register your business's name and social media handle.

How to Start a Beauty Products Brand

  • Identify your forte and conceptualize your brand, i.e., logo, website, and marketing.
  • Communicate with a lab about your product and ingredients you would like to incorporate.
  • Choose the perfect packaging. Contact beauty buyers to earn a spot in a store's window, and make sure your product is unique. After finalizing your product, it is time to start marketing it.
  • Social Media accounts and sending free samples to the right people is a step in the right direction. Beauty bloggers and writers are some people you can send your free samples to. If they like your product, they will hopefully blog about it on their site. If you work in a beauty salon, you may also consider asking your boss if selling your products to your clients may be possible.

If you need help with patenting a hair product, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.