Steps To File a Patent Application
The essential steps you’ll need to complete before filing a patent application in the United States are outlined here. Nothing in this process necessitates the need for a lawyer; there is no court, no judge, and no “legal” research.
However, the USPTO has its own set of rules, which can be complicated to follow. Nonetheless, you can follow them just as you would a cookbook recipe.
- Keep a Written Record of Your Invention: In a notebook, write down every step of the invention process. Describe and draw every part and modification of the innovation, including how you first conceived of the concept. You may also want to build and test a prototype, depending on the invention. All of your efforts should be documented. Each entry should be signed, dated, and witnessed by two people you trust.
- Verify to See if Your Invention Qualifies for Patent Protection: A patent cannot be obtained only based on an idea. You must demonstrate the functionality of your invention. Furthermore, your invention must be novel (or “novel” in the parlance of patent lawyers). This implies that it must be distinct from all previous inventions in the field in some significant way. If the USPTO’s patent examiners are likely to reject your application right away, don’t waste your time and money applying for a patent.
- Evaluate Your Invention’s Commercial Potential: Filing a patent application is a commercial choice. You could pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fees to submit and get a patent from the USPTO even if you don’t hire a patent attorney or utilize professionally prepared patent drawings. Before you make this investment, do some research on the market you want to enter and decide if it’s worth the money.
- Conduct a Thorough Patent Search: To ensure that your idea is unique, you must research all previous developments in your sector. This entails looking for related inventions in U.S. (and sometimes foreign) patents, as well as other publications such as scientific and technical periodicals.
Although patent searching takes time, it is a skill that can be learned with experience. Even if you decide to employ a professional later on in the process, you are the best person to start the search because you know more about your innovation than anybody else.
You can begin your search on the internet, but you should also consider visiting a Patent and Trademark Depository Library. You can look up older patents and seek advice from a librarian there.
You will undoubtedly come across other inventions that are comparable to yours if you search. You should demonstrate how your innovation improves or differs from these past developments in your application.
- Prepare and File an Application With the USPTO: You have a choice when filing with the USPTO. You have the option of filing a full-fledged regular patent application (RPA) or a provisional patent application (PPA) (PPA).
A PPA isn’t the same as filing a patent application. A PPA merely lets you claim “patent pending” status for your idea, and it takes a fraction of the time and money that a traditional patent application does.
A cost ($65 for micro-entities, $130 for small entities, $260 for large enterprises) is all that is required to register a PPA, together with a full description of the invention that explains how to create and use it, and an informal drawing.
Then, within a year of submitting the PPA, you must file an RPA. If you don’t, you won’t be able to use the PPA filing date. Inventors frequently file a PPA to establish credibility quickly and possibly attract investors. RPA (regular patent application): Filing an RPA, or regular patent application, initiates the USPTO’s examination procedure, which is required to get a patent. To get an understanding of the steps involved in preparing a standard application.