Patent protections are crucial in many industries to protect inventions from the public for some amount of time. That way, the inventors have the right to use that patent exclusively or sell that patent and transfer that right to another entity. The system incentivizes the creations of new ideas and designs to push forward the economy. If you’re involved in creating any invention, you must understand the legal intricacies behind the process, even if you’re not directly responsible for handling the documentation. We share important details to keep in mind when applying for a patent in our following guide for beginners and first-time inventors.
You Have to Apply Before Releasing the Product to the Market
The patent application in the U.S. gives ownership of the invention to whoever files the patent first, rather than who was the first person in coming up with the idea. This is why it is vital to properly protect your business to get the ball rolling before releasing the product to the market. Searching the Patent Database and Patent Application Database beforehand will clear any doubts about whether someone else has already filed a similar patent claim.
Note that you need to apply for the correct type of patent. Either you can go for utility patents for inventions that have a specific function or for a design patent for anything related to the product’s aesthetics or non-functional aspects. Curiously enough, a special category exists for plant patents if you create a new plant species. If you’re interested in obtaining an international patent, you are in luck. The U.S. is part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty that would allow you only to file a single application that will get 149 countries to process your submitted documentation at the same time.
Your Invention Can Be Patent Pending If You Need More Time
Get ready to face a time-consuming process with back and forths between you and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A patent takes an average of three years to get approved by the federal entity, and only on very rare occasions, a patent gets approved on the first try. So whether you’re working by yourself or with a team on the product, software, or idea, it’s not uncommon that there are concerns for protecting the idea from getting stolen or copied through the entire process. Fortunately, there’s no need to jump straight away into the patent application process if your invention still requires additional polishing. According to patent lawyers at Camuti Law Group, all you need to do is submit a provisional patent application, which requires fewer details about your product. A big advantage for small businesses is the affordable fees and lasts for 12 months, giving extra time to improve and perfect anything pending before trying to get the actual patent.
Your Application Requires Close Attention to Details
When it is time to start the patent application, leave nothing up to chance and be meticulous with the information you include about your invention. The application in itself consists of several sections, so you must send the filing fees, a patent application declaration stating that you’re the true inventor behind the product, the specifications, and an information disclosure statement providing additional relevant information. The specifications document is where you need to add all the pertinent details to your invention. It should include background information about how your product solves a specific issue or a detailed description of your product’s industrial application and how your design could be constructed, drawings, claims, and conclusions.
Using the right vocabulary to deliver an accurate description while still allowing yourself enough space to tweak the invention should be a top priority for you or your team. Some contracts will specify any patent filed by any employee will belong to the company or require authorization from their superiors to move forward with the application or sell the idea. Don’t forget that everyone involved in the invention’s creation must be mentioned as the author in the application.
Filing patents can be an excellent sign for your company’s investors and help incubate a creative environment in your business to excel in the industry and have a significant advantage over the competition. However, you can either start the process with the help of a patent lawyer with years of experience in the subject or go ahead with the patent application by yourself. Regardless of your choice, don’t forget to keep any details secret before launching any marketing details to the public, and avoid any company that asks for any payment upfront to help you with the application process.