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How to apply for a patent

by Legal Advantage Legal Advantage provides intellectual property ser

The patent application process can be a complex one. Below is a high level explanation of the process. The explanation below doesn't cover all aspects of the patent application process - rather it just provides a base guide to how the process works.


Step 1 - Research

The first step is to do some preliminary research to make sure your invention doesn't already exist or is novel. This can be done by going to the USPTO website at www.uspto.gov or alternatively, Google now also has a listing of patents which you can look through by going to http://www.google.com/patents. Once you've made sure that the patent doesn't exist then you may need to hire a firm to do a proper Patent Search or Patentability Search to make sure that it is indeed unique.


Step 2 - Prior Art Search 

To get a patent generally requires an attorney to fill out amount of paperwork. This includes making sure that the invention, process or whatever is being patented does not already exist. The technical term for this is called a Prior Art Search or a patentability search. This search usually requires few levels of analysis to verify that the item being patented or parts of it doesn't exist in a variety of different patent classes. Once you've determined that your invention, process, or whatever it may be is original then you are ready to proceed to the next step.


Step 3 - The Patent Application 

The appilcation should include the following:

  • From Step 2 - a list and description of any prior art found that may be relevant or similar to the invention in question.
  • A synopsis of what the invention is and does (an outline)
  • A description of how this invention should be or could be used.
  • Claims - This part is important because this is the meat of where patent infringement law suits are focused on. If someone takes you to court for something, this is what they'll focus on. Claim or claims are basically the "legal descriptions" of the invention in question.

Typically patent attorneys are hired to do the application process. If you do hire a patent attorney, the application will be the biggest cost for you usually costing over $4,000 and can go up to $25,000.


Upon completing the patent application (draft) you move to the next step in which you can either proofread and correct any mistakes made or submit the patent as is. Studies have identified that over 94% of patents filed have mistakes in them and many are required to have corrections filed. These mistakes can lead to a series of issues. If the USPTO responds and requests corrections or denies the application you can move to step 4 and then resubmit. 


Step 4 - Submit the Application 

Once the fees are paid and the patent is submitted, the USPTO will do a thorough investigation before granting the patent. To insure the maximum patent protection, research the law firm as well as other firms you will be using. 


Step 5 - Patent Proofreading 

Defectively issued patents are not self-correcting – you may end up spending many valuable hours trying to catch errors that are seemingly insignificant, but if left uncorrected can lead to major consequences.  There are numerous examples of improper or missing proofreading quality controls that have resulted in disastrous consequences.  As an IP professional, you understand that if allowed claims are not printed, they cannot be enforced.  Therefore, many hours must be spent proofreading patents meticulously reviewing issued patents.   


If your patent application is rejected it isn't an end game. There are a couple of things you can do. First of all, you can submit a claim charging that the patent examiner was wrong to reject the application. You can also resubmit an "amended application" which can be done by narrowing the scope of the patent or a variety of other ways. 

Resources Box  
Provisional Patent Application Kit ...
Get Patent Pending: This downloadable Provisional Patent Application kit pr...

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Cabrio Windschott
Cabrio Windschott


About Legal Advantage Freshman     Legal Advantage provides intellectual property ser

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Joined APSense since, August 29th, 2011, From Washington DC, United States.

Created on Nov 16th 2011 09:01. Viewed 237 times.

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