If you are a business owner in Los Angeles looking to protect your innovation, you may need to get a patent. The process of applying for a patent and securing it is a complex one. Technology has transformed the legal landscape, making patent law even more complicated and intricate. When considering filing for a patent, it is important to be aware of the various factors involved, such as how to prepare, the timeline for application, the costs associated, and the likelihood of success. The following guide covers five key aspects of patent law, helping you to better understand the patent process In Los Angeles and the best plan of action to secure your invention.

1. Understand What Can be Patented under Federal Law

Before filing for a patent in the US, it is essential to understand what type of innovation and idea can be protected and how the laws apply. Generally speaking, for something to be patentable, it must meet these criteria: non-obviousness, utility, novelty, and originality.  The invention must also have industrial application and considerable practical use.

Inventions that qualify under copyright and trademark won’t qualify for a patent. Copyright protects pieces of work with creative expression, such as books, music, art, and digital works, whereas trademark applies to the brand name, slogan, and logo. Copyright and trademark laws provide different forms of protection than those granted by patents.

Furthermore, the same invention can be protected differently in different countries, so it is important to research what form of legal protection the invention holds in each of the relevant areas.

2. Determine if a Patent is Necessary

When considering getting a patent, it is important to determine if that is the best option for protecting your innovation. This decision comes down to the intent of the patent. If the goal is to maintain secrecy of the invention, to control who gains access to it, and to leverage it as an asset, patent protection could be your best strategy. On the other hand, if the intent is to share the invention with the rest of the world and to encourage others to build upon it, patenting the invention might not be necessary.

3. Secure Patent Application Assistance

Filing for a patent is a complicated process that must adhere to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) standards. The process doesn’t only involve putting together an application, you must also include proofs, sample drawings, and detailed descriptions of the invention. The application must also include a high-level comparison to existing patent and non-patent literature that is pertinent to the invention. Therefore, it is best to hire a patent attorney to help with the application and to make sure that the process adheres to the USPTO’s standards.

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4. Appreciate the Proces & Timeline for Patent Application

Filing for a patent is a time-consuming process, with each application taking between 12 and 18 months to process. This means that the overall period from filing a patent to receiving approval can take about four to five years, depending on whether opposition is encountered.

The initial application process involves two rounds of review from the USPTO. The first step is an examination of the invention to determine in eligibility for patenting. Additionally, the application is checked to ensure that it adheres to the USPTO’s standards. This review can take up to a year from the time of filing. During this time, the application is in ‘prosecution status’ and the legal teams of both the applicant and the USPTO communicate back and forth to come to a resolution. The goal is for the USPTO to approve the application, which can take up to another 12 months after resolving any issues.

5. Research the Costs & Alternatives to Patent Applications

The cost of filing for a patent will vary depending on the individual case and the level of assistance needed. The application fee for most small businesses is between $1,500 and $10,000. As a result, startups might opt for a provisional patent application, which gives entrepreneurs a year to come up with funds for a more expensive, full application. These provisional filings are generally less expensive, cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000. Georgia Patent Firm offers free initial consultations with experienced patent professionals and most firms will try to beat the filing fees offered by the USPTO.

There are several alternatives to patent protection as well. For example, entrepreneurs can copyright certain works or elements of their invention or have a non-disclosure agreement in place. Additionally, entrepreneurs can indecently test the market with their invention and take advantage of trade secrets as well


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