Obtaining a Patent: Everything You Need to Know
Obtaining a patent involves a number of steps and requirements. 8 min read
2. Make Sure Your Invention Qualifies for Patent Protection
3. Assess the Commercial Potential of Your Invention
4. Do a Thorough Patent Search
5. What Are the Expenses Involved With Obtaining a Patent?
6. What Happens After Filing?
Obtaining a patent involves specific requirements and some steps that include getting assistance from a patent attorney or patent agent and paying fees to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Obtaining a license and meeting all the specifications can be an overwhelming process. A patent gives an inventor the legal right to limit others from making, utilizing, or offering the invention without permission and authorization.
The patent application is exceptionally specialized and extremely legalistic. Some have called the craft of patent drafting a standout amongst the most troublesome tasks in the U.S. legal framework. A few stages are simple, but at other points in the process, the procedure becomes more involved. Nevertheless, if you go about it the right way and take extra special care, in the end, you will accomplish something great by obtaining a patent. The U.S. government grants licenses to individual creators, groups, or enterprises. The application process varies in different nations, but the most important thing, no matter where you live, is to document and record the development of your invention.
Keep a Careful Record of Your Invention
Make a note of each step of the method taken for the design in a scratch pad. Be sure to map out each aspect of the creation, as well as the process it took to get you to the final product. It may be helpful to have two reliable witnesses that can account for your development process.
Make Sure Your Invention Qualifies for Patent Protection
You cannot have a patent on an excellent idea alone. You should demonstrate how the innovation functions and your creation must be new. The development must be distinct from past inventions that are similar. Your invention must not be available for purchase anywhere else.
Assess the Commercial Potential of Your Invention
The application for a patent is an entrepreneurial choice. You want to be sure before applying for a license that it will be worth the investment for you to proceed. Take a look at the market and decide if there is a need for the invention. Of course, you want to believe in your product, but you want to make sure it will be seen as an answer to a consumer problem and address a real need.
Do a Thorough Patent Search
To guarantee that the creation is new, you want to find all the most recent advancements in your general field. In the patent application, it is important to indicate how your creation enhances or is not quite the same as these prior improvements.
What Are the Expenses Involved With Obtaining a Patent?
Assessing the cost of U.S. patents is a troublesome issue. The most important consideration is the invention. The more complex an innovation is, the more costly it can be to file for a patent. On account of the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and further controls from the United States for licenses and trademarks, it is more difficult now than before to write out descriptions necessary for the claim.
It may be helpful to begin with a dialog on the sorts of things that will influence the typical cost of getting prepared and filing a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You should consider the type of invention you have and its degree of complexity first and foremost when assessing the potential expenses. Since inventors believe that their design is simple and they can easily describe it, they have a presumption that it will not cost much to obtain the patent. If a person does not fully know patent law, the patent process can be quite daunting, but there is some validity to that way of thinking. A simplistic invention does not mean getting a license is cheap though.
On the off chance that an invention is an exceptionally modern electronic gadget, the development is more than likely intricate. The product development would require a lot of elements that the courts have in place to get a product patent. With software, especially, there is a lot of technical detail involved with the application process.
The government filing fees for filing a nonprovisional patent application by small businesses can be around $730. The filing fees can go higher depending on the number of requirements contained in the patent application. Professional designs or drawings for the invention are practically required. The price for those can range between $300 to $500 for full, complete pictures. As mentioned above, the more complicated an invention, the more it will cost to file for a patent. For the most part, no design is purely simple.
Patent application costs are also reliant on your use of the patent and whether there are actual market opportunities. If there are realistic chances on the market, you can even spend more on something that is easy to make if you have not covered the invention enough to have a strong resulting patent. For example, you could probably find a lawyer to write a patent for a business method or a computer software cheap enough, but a low patent cost of the computer-related patent would not be nearly as high as a patent application that would cost $20,000 or more.
Attorney fees for patent filing consider the complexity of the invention primarily:
- An incredibly simple design could range between $5,000 to $7,000
- A minimally sophisticated design could cost up to $10,000 to file
- Extremely complex or software-related inventions can be as much as $16,000 for attorney filing fees or more
Obtaining a stronger patent requires additional work and legal processes to provide the necessary attention to technical disclosure to enable and describe how many alternatives, options, variants, and possible configurations exist for the invention. The strongest patents, of course, require a longer time with an attorney, which in turn requires more time to work with the patent examiner to obtain the granted patent.
For some companies that have intellectual property, it may be useful to save more for each application because without a solid base it will be hard to obtain a broad patent protection.
In the field of biotechnology and in the software industry, where facilities are minimal, it is not entirely surprising to hear of companies, particularly start-ups, that pay 1.5 to 2 times the average costs for a patent application. Some small businesses often try to discover ways to cut corners to minimize costs.
One way a company may attempt to save money is by electing to skip patent search and investigation. Some lawyers may choose to only work with a company that wishes to proceed with the application without the search. However, a patent search is assuredly crucial because it gives you an idea as to whether it makes sense to pursue a patent in the first place. The goal of a patent search is to reach a particular level of confidence within a threshold of 80 percent regarding the invention.
However, a thorough search will more than likely lead to a better patent application because it takes the field of your invention into consideration. Without knowing what is prevalent in the field, it is simply not possible to emphasize what makes your design unique in comparison to the products that have come before it. Of course, it will make sense to do your research, but a professional researcher will work with a patent attorney to find patents and pending applications that you may have difficulty discovering on your own.
Filing a provisional patent application is another way to reduce costs. The invention must still get outlined as thoroughly as a nonprovisional patent application, but there is less red tape. For example, the cost of lawyer time alone for a provisional patent application is regularly around $2,000. The filing charge is $130 for a little product, and drawings ordinarily cost $100 to $125 per page. Therefore, a provisional patent application for an electrical or mechanical gadget can usually range in cost from $2,500 to $3,000. The invention and the intricacy of the creation do enormously influence the cost for filing a provisional patent application, the same as with nonprovisional patent applications.
For instance, for computer-related developments and programming, the cost to prepare a provisional patent application is ordinarily $6,000 in addition to the documenting expenses and drawing costs. With programming, there is a significantly higher cost, both with provisional and nonprovisional patent applications because there is more data that is involved. For a strong patent claim, you must picture the total makeup of the framework and get down to the calculations, schedules, and sub-schedules regarding computer-related licenses, in particular.
One thing that is important to consider when calculating the costs for nonprovisional and provisional patent applications is what number of licenses and distributed applications you can find that intently identifies with your development. At the point when there are many licenses and published applications found, it is said to be a "crowded field of invention." As such, it will be important to make fine distinctions. The more previous designs that must get considered, the more work is required and consequently the greater the cost to obtain a strong and purposeful patent.
An example of the expenses for patenting a computer-executed technique for using the web will resemble this:
- Patent search with lawyer consultation = $2,500 to $3,000
- Provisional patent application arranged and documented = $6,000
- USPTO filing charge for provisional patent application = $130
- Nonprovisional patent application based off provisional documenting = $10,000 to $12,000
- Filing charge paid to the USPTO for nonprovisional patent application = $800 to $1,250 (small company)
- Professional illustrated designs = $500
- Total cost for nonprovisional patent application filing = $19,930 to $22,880
Below is another example. This breakdown would be hypothetical if you were trying to patent a mechanical device:
- Attorney opinion and patent search = $1,250
- Filing and preparing provisional patent application = $2,000
- USPTO filing fee = $130 (small company)
- Nonprovisional patent application from a provisional filing = $7,500
- USPTO filing fee for nonprovisional patent application = $800 (small company)
- Professional drawings = $400
- The estimated total expenses filing nonprovisional patent application = $12,08
There may be post-filing fees once a Patent Examiner starts going through the application. You want to be prepared for that as well. The expenses for getting a license can be disheartening. Some designers may decide to abandon the idea altogether after calculating costs because they can add up. Some developers may attempt to get the patent without assistance from attorneys or look for discounted providers who are not patent agents or patent lawyers. If you go that route, you want to educate yourself on the pricing.
What Happens After Filing?
After the application gets filed and there is a waiting period which could be a year or two, a patent analyst will assess the application to check whether the application meets the prerequisites for patentability.
"Patent Pending" is a phrase that could get placed on a manufactured item that is waiting for a license to get issued during the waiting period. It serves as a warning that a thing may soon be covered, and copiers should be mindful. If a patent application does not exist for a product and the "pending" phrase gets used, it could result in a fine.
On the off chance that your patent application does not meet the necessities for patentability, the analyst will dismiss it. You are permitted to correct the application and work with the analyst to amend it. After you have made the adjustments, you will be required to pay an additional fee for the application to get reconsidered.
If you need help with obtaining a patent, 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.