Basics of Getting a Patent
Learning how to get a patent is important if you want to
avoid making costly mistakes many inventors make. For example, many
inventors skip a U.S. patentability search which could encourage you to not
spend thousands of dollars on a patent application and if you proceed with a
patent application will assist your patent attorney in crafting your claims
to help get you a patent. Getting a patent is not easy or cheap, but
if you follow the steps below you should be ahead of most inventors when
getting a patent.
How to Get a Patent
Step 1: U.S. Patentability Search
The first step to getting a patent for your invention is typically to perform a
U.S. patent search. A U.S. patent search will help you
determine if you should spend the money getting a patent. While a
patent search is not
required by the U.S. Patent Office, it is usually the first step before
getting a patent - particularly for first time patentees.
Step 2: Prepare a U.S. Patent Application
Assuming the patent search indicates that getting a patent for your idea is
feasible, the next step is to prepare a patent application. You have
two main options in preparing your patent application: (1) prepare the
yourself or (2) hire a qualified U.S. Registered Patent Attorney.
Getting a patent on an idea yourself can
be very difficult even for the most experienced inventors. Most
reputable people in the invention industry will recommend that you hire a
patent attorney as the best method on how to get a patent for your invention. A patent attorney will have years
of experience in preparing and prosecuting patent applications with the U.S.
Patent Office which should give your invention the best chance of receiving a
During the preparation of your patent application, your patent attorney will send you a draft of the patent application to
review prior to filing with the U.S. Patent Office. If you have any
questions or suggestions for your patent attorney, make sure to contact them
immediately after receiving the first draft of the patent application - no
matter how simple you may believe your question is!
Step 3: File the U.S. Patent Application
After you approve the patent application for your idea, the next step is
for your patent attorney to file the patent application with the U.S. Patent
Office which will give you "patent
pending" status. A patent application needs to be
filed with the USPTO before you will have any chance of getting a patent.
Step 4: Patent Prosecution
After the patent application is received by the U.S. Patent Office, they will perform a
separate patent search and send you an Office
Action (basically a patentability opinion from the U.S. Patent Office)
indicating the patentability of your invention. Most first Office
Actions result in the initial denial of your patent application so don't be
discouraged just because you receive an initial rejection.
To get a patent, your patent
attorney will then have to file a Response with the U.S. Patent Office
arguing while your idea is patentable. The Response may also include
claim amendments to help improve the patentability of your idea.
The U.S. Patent Office will hopefully respond with a Notice of Allowance
which indicates that your idea can receive a patent. However, the U.S.
Patent Office may send a Final Office Action indicating that the Patent
Examiner disagrees with the Response (you can file a second Response and/or
file a Request for Continued Examination).
Step 5: USPTO Issue Fee
Assuming you receive a Notice of Allowance ,
you then will be required to pay a government Issue Fee to get your patent. After the
Issue Fee is received by the U.S. Patent Office, your invention will typically
receive a granted patent within 1-3 months.