Before we get into subject, let’s first understand what a patent really is. Precisely, a patent is a legal document granted to the inventor of a new product or idea. The U.S. law claims that any person who invents a new product, process, machine, or any beneficial idea is eligible to obtain a patent.
The main objective of getting a patent is to forestall others from manufacturing or selling the product for 20 years from the date the patent was approved. Have you just invented a new product or idea? Do you feel that it has immense growth potential? If so, then the idea to patent your product or idea should definitely be loitering in your mind.
Who grants the Patent?
To protect inventors from the duplicates of their own products or ideas, the U.S. Congress formulated the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). Patent applications for products or ideas are filed through the USPTO. Once you’ve filed the application, the USPTO will review your product idea and grant patent rights provided it meets their eligibility criteria.
Essential tips to Patent a Product Idea
1. Basics of filing a patent application
After you’ve formulated your own product idea then the first thing you need to do is “act fast.” Yes, and that’s exactly what Lynn Wilson, Marketing Instructor at the Rogers State University also says. According to him, the first thing new inventors need to do is write a product disclosure and seal the invention date. The court will take this as a legal document and resolve all disputes pertaining to who the actual inventor of the product idea is. Nevertheless the court doesn’t necessarily grant intellectual property rights to the person who has filed the patent. As a person who is going to file the patent, you can either submit the disclosure in any of the two ways: writing or typing. And make sure that the patent application contains all the necessary details of the concept. Though you don’t have to hire an official to file the patent, you should have a witness to read and sign in the disclosure. The witness can either be your friend or colleague. It’s always good to have a copy of the original disclosure in your office cabinet, if an emergency might arise at a later stage.
2. Filing a patent
As per the USPTO guidelines, the inventor of the product or idea can present his or her concept in a narrative write-up, thus he or she is not enforced to stick to the formal editorial rules. Ideally, the content should elaborate the novelties of the overall concept and its benefits and also include some background information. The USPTO will give you a one year protection period during the course of which you can write a formal disclosure. If you are not fully aware of the intricacies of the various steps involved in filing a patent then you can hire an attorney to take your case to the USPTO on your behalf. Typically, the cost it takes to file a patent application ranges from $400 to $1,000. People who hire an attorney need to shell out a few extra bucks as service charges.
3. Look for already patented cases
A patent landscaping is one that deals with similar kinds of intellectual property right issues that have been granted in the past. By exploring similar topics, the possible solutions to the case can be unearthed. If you want to do a self-study on this then you may visit the USPTO website and look for the patent database. One effective way to make your search easier is to use keywords similar to your case and see if they have already been patented or not. Once you find the most closely related case, then you may contrast your product concept with the already claimed ones and zero in on the important aspects of the case. Thus, what you are going to gather at the end of it will most probably be the key points that are going to support your case.
4. Filing the patent claim
Once you have filed your provisional patent with the USPTO, then you need to file your patent application within the next 12 months. The general guidelines may ask you to list out the details of your patent claim, provide background information, and elaborate the value of your invention. You can either submit your patent claim directly to USPTO or hire an expert patent attorney and ask him or her to file the patent on your behalf. USPTO will generate the feedback in one or two years after which you can alter your claims, if required. Once your patent gets approved, then you will be granted intellectual property rights for an indefinite period of 14-20 years.
This article is written by Jem. She is fond of following the latest trends in technology. She is currently working for BuyVerizon – a site that offers savings and current information on Verizon FiOS. If you wish to write for HBB, kindly check this.