First time inventors, educational institutions and corporations with no experience in the patent world should know that timing is everything. The US Patent system changed years ago from a first to invent system to a first to file system. Get things on the record or others will take your ideas. Act Now. Here is a short group of steps that you can use to help yourself get a patent application.
Steps to Filing a Patent Application
1- Make a Record of Your Steps
The use of an inventor’s notebook used to be a highly important part of the process. People could argue in court that they were the First-to-Invent based on evidence such as this. However, these days it is not important so much for the patenting process as for helping yourself improve the idea as you go. It used to be that the First-to-Invent a concept would be the one who had the first right to a patent thereon. However, with the AIA law that passed some years back the system is now a First-to-File patent application system. Thus, the maintaining of records is really for yourself and helping you organize and improve the invention.
2- Find out if Your Concept is Patent-able
Can it be patented? To be patented, your invention has to fall within the statutory classes created by the US patent law. For example, you can patent machines, processes, articles of manufacture, chemical compositions, business methods, computer software, home devices and more.
3- Determine if Your Invention Has Financial Potential
You are not in this to get a piece of paper on the wall are you? If you want to spend hard earned money on filing and getting a patent you are presumably starting a business. Because of this you need to do research on existing products and the potential of customers to like and buy your product. When you are doing this be careful to not let others in on what your product is.
4-Have a Patent Search Conducted on the Concept
In order for your patent concept to be patentable, no one should have made it prior to yourself. Additionally, there should not be any obvious previously existing patent literature or other art (journals, scientific manuals, foreign patents) that would lead one of ordinary skill in this technology to make your concept. In other words, the other parties that have such information or patents published would have first rights to patenting their invention. Thus, the best thing is to do a short search yourself to see if anything exists already. You can try a search by going to google.com/patents. Consider going to a reputable patent company for a search such as tampa patent attorney services.
5. File a Patent Application at the USPTO.gov
Filing at the USPTO is a simple process. You need to have an oath or declaration form as well as an entity status form showing whether you are a micro entity (income < $155,000). You can file electronically or through regular mail to an address available at the USPTO.gov website. However, what is NOT easy to do is actually prepare the patent description itself. This because the specification and drawings of the invention must enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and or use the invention. Additionally, the claims must be written to broadly claim the invention as much as possible so as to protect yourself as much as possible. Consider going to a patent attorney service.