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Patents – How and Why to File a Patent

by Zewski Corporation

A patent is an important tool in any inventor’s life. It allows you to protect your idea from anyone else’s use and profit. Though the process is rather complex, there are a variety of benefits to filing a patent. It starts with completing a patent application, a document that provides details into what you are trying to develop. That application is the first step in protecting your right to property. It helps stop others from making what you hope to produce while also protecting your from others selling, using or importing the invention.

How to File a Patent

It is possible to file a patent on your own through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but be aware that the process requires numerous steps. You will need to make sure your invention is qualified for a patent, and you need to provide an in-depth explanation of what your invention is. It takes time to learn the process, but you can do it.

On the other hand, you can turn to a professional organization to help you. These professionals handle the entire process for you, ensuring the invention qualifies for a patent by showing it is new and assessing the actual commercial potential for your idea.

A patent search is also conducted as a part of filing an application. This step is perhaps one of the most intense components of the process as it involves searching, most often, U.S. and foreign patents as well as technical and scientific journals to find other inventions like your own. This is the most time-consuming part of the process.

After all of this research is complete, the next step is to file the actual application. This is where you need to choose the right type of patent for your needs.

Choosing the Right Patent for Your Idea  

There are two main types of patents you can file. The utility patent and the design patent application. A utility patent protect and design from a utility standpoint (how the product functions and is used by the consumer). A design patent protects the actual aesthetics design of the product, or as the patent office states, the ornamental design of a functional item.   

Choosing the Right Filing for Your Idea  

There are two main types of patent applications you can file. The regular patent application and the provisional patent application are available to most people. Here’s a look at each.

Provisional Filing

A Provisional Patent, isn’t actually an application for your idea’s patent. However, it does put in place a pending status on your invention recorded at the date of filing. As a result, it provides some immediate protection for your idea, allowing you to continue to research and develop your idea. You will still need to provide some details — including a drawing of the invention, how it works, why it's used, and other details. You then have a year to complete the patent process with a full regular patent.  Although you can file a patent yourself for a few hundred dollars, if you plan on using a attorney, your should be prepared to spend $1200-$5000. 

Regular Filing

You may also, skip the provision a patent process  and file immediately for a Regular Patent. This process puts into motion the U.S. Patent Office’s work of examining your patent to determine if it qualifies for one. For a regular patent, you’ll need to complete all of the research for this process. This includes providing the specification, which describes your invention and shows how it is different; the claims you are making, drawings of your invention; an abstract providing additional information and last prior art, or existing patents that are similar or from which your idea evolved. Plan on spending upwards of $9000 to submit a regular patent application through an attorney.  Along with this you should budget for additional costs to support your claims if the patent office finds similar patents or challenges your application.

Filing a patent to protect your idea or invention is an important step. It allows you to ensure no one else is going to build or invent what you are creating. Though a complex process, you can get help from professionals to minimize the costs, timelines and work.

If you want our help or a referral to a patent attorney, just reach out. We love working with inventors and we've gone through this process numerous times.  You can also find more information at https://www.uspto.gov.