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How to Patent an Idea

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How to Patent an Idea

In contrast to what you might have heard on TV commercials, you can’t in fact patent an idea. The United States Patent and Hallmark Office (USPTO) issues patents for new machines or processes, not the mere suggestion of a maker or process.

In contrast to what you might have heard on TV commercials, you can’t in fact patent an idea. The United States Patent and Hallmark Office (USPTO) issues patents for new machines or processes, not the mere suggestion of a maker or process. Prior to you can get something copyrighted, you have to have a preliminary design to demonstrate how it works. Then, you can submit a provisional application.

A provisionary license application is fairly simple to submit and will schedule your concern of development for twelve month. This gives you time to service the non-provisional application for a full patent. When accepted, your full license protects your invention from the date you submitted your provisional application. Full licenses give you the right to exclude others from making, marketing or importing your innovation for two decades from the top priority declaring date. Because the procedure of getting a patent is exceptionally complex, the USPTO strongly suggests that you employ a seasoned patent lawyer to formulate your non-provisional application.

Filing a Provisional Application

Verify that your invention is patentable. To be patentable, your development has to be something tangible that exists– it can’t be a mere untested idea that you had. Past that threshold, there are 4 basic criteria your invention must fulfill:

  • Useful: your invention works and is capable of performing its stated purpose.
  • New: your invention isn’t in public use, hasn’t been previously disclosed in any publication anywhere in the world, and hasn’t been patented before.
  • Non-obvious: the difference between your invention and any prior inventions isn’t something that would be obvious to a person with ordinary skill in that area of technology.
  • Adequately described: you must describe your invention in your patent application with enough detail that a person with ordinary skill in that area of technology could make it and use it themselves.

Warning: You can never get a patent for laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas.

Identify your development making use of the Guidebook of Category (MOC). While a particular classification isn’t necessary for a provisional license application, choosing a classification will aid you identify if your development is patentable. Although provisional license applications aren’t examined, there’s no factor in going any type of additional if a preliminary search reveals that your innovation clearly could not be patented.

  • You can download and install a basic overview to the MOC at It will certainly assist you comprehend just how to discover the proper classes and also sub-classes for your innovation.
  • When you have a standard understanding of just how the category system works, most likely to as well as pick the class that corresponds to your invention.

Tip: Your choice of classification may affect the patentability of your invention. There may be a similar invention patented in one class but not in another.

Conduct a basic patent search. Although you do not need to distinguish your development from comparable creations that have currently been patented (called previous art) in a provisional application, a fundamental patent search is still valuable. If your creation has actually currently been patented or disclosed in public by someone else, there’s no worth in continuing yet point.

  • To begin a standard search, go to From there, you can look the USPTO’s online database, which includes all patents provided because 1976.
  • If you were applying for a non-provisional license, it would be far better to have an experienced license lawyer conduct this search for you. However, you do not require to disclose previous art for a provisionary application. You’re just doing this look for your very own expertise to make certain you aren’t wasting your effort and time on an invention that isn’t patentable.

Total your provisional application. The USPTO does not have a details form you can make use of to file a provisionary patent application. Rather, you must send a document which contains the complying with info:

  • A title for your invention
  • A written description of your invention
  • Drawings of your invention, if necessary to understand how it works

Tip: You can find templates online for provisional patent applications that you can adapt to suit your needs. Just do a search for “provisional patent application template” or “provisional patent application sample.”

Download and install and submit the provisional application cover sheet. All provisionary license applications must be accompanied by a cover sheet, which you can download at The provisionary application cover sheet should include the adhering to information:

  • The names of all inventors
  • Residential addresses for all inventors
  • The title of the invention
  • The name and registration number of your patent attorney, if you have one
  • The address for correspondence regarding your application
  • The names of any US government agencies that have a property interest in the application

Establish your application cost. You must pay the application fee when you send your provisional license application. Since 2019, the undiscounted cost for a provisionary application is $280. This amount is reduced to $140 if you certify as a little entity or $70 if you qualify as a micro entity.

  • Typically, you certify as a little entity if you are an individual or small business with less than 500 workers or less than $2 million in annual profits.
  • To certify as a micro entity, you should have a gross earnings less than 3 times the average house revenue in the United States for the preceding calendar year. You should additionally typically meet the demands for small entity condition. You can not certify as a micro entity, no matter your income, if you are provided as a creator on greater than 4 license applications.
  • To find the official US typical income, go to and check the table for the appropriate calendar year.

Submit your application to the USPTO. When you have actually finished your application, you can submit it to the USPTO online or you can mail in the paper types. Consist of settlement of your application fee.

  • If you want to send your application online, make use of the EFS-Web, readily available at
  • You don’t have to sign up with the USPTO to submit your provisionary application. However, if you decide to produce an account, you’ll have accessibility to improved functions, consisting of the ability to conserve incomplete applications and also submit changes to applications you’ve already submitted.

Beginning dealing with your non-provisional application. Your provisionary license application is energetic from the date you file your application. Nonetheless, a provisionary application, on its own, doesn’t provide you any kind of civil liberties to avoid others from making or selling your invention. Instead, it purchases you an additional year to complete and submit your non-provisional application. If you do not file your non-provisional application before your provisionary application ends, your provisional license application will certainly be considered deserted as well as you will not obtain the benefit of the earlier filing day.

  • On the other hand, if you submit your non-provisional application within a year of the date you submitted your provisionary application, when your non-provisional application is accepted, you can demand unauthorized use of your invention before you filed your non-provisional application, while you still only had a provisional filing. This is what it suggests to make use of the earlier declaring date.
  • With a provisional application, you likewise have the possibility to check out the business practicality of your innovation before you incur the cost of a non-provisional application.
  • You can utilize the phrase “patent pending” in connection to your innovation if you wish to put the public on notification that you are safeguarded your copyright civil liberties.

Completing Your Non-Provisional Application

Consult an experienced license lawyer. Non-provisional patent applications are made complex documents with numerous technological specifications as well as formatting demands. While you could attempt to do one by yourself, you’ll save a great deal of time if you get your application drawn up by a seasoned license attorney. Most likely to to find a registered license attorney near you.

Conduct an extra complete license search. A prior art search for a non-provisional application does not just look at patent records, but at other inventions that may not be patented as well. If there’s something that has been divulged to the general public that resembles your creation, it can preclude your creation from being patented. A complete non-provisional application divulges all appropriate prior art and also distinguishes your innovation from those other innovations that are similar or are made to address similar problems.

  • Usually, it’s far better to allow your attorney deal with the prior art search. They have experience with categories and also patent terms as well as may find prior art that you would miss out on.
  • Anticipate the prior art search to take several months. Your lawyer will likely maintain an ongoing search while your application is being prepared in case something shows up later on.

Complete your application information sheet. The application data sheet is a recap of the info had in your application. This sheet has to go along with all non-provisional patent applications as well as must be authorized by all inventors. You can download the form at

  • Typically, the information sheet includes the names as well as addresses of all inventors, information regarding your attorney, and details about your provisional application, if you have one.

Tip: If you have one or more non-expired provisional patent applications on file, you must provide the application numbers and filing dates. Otherwise, you won’t get the benefit of the earlier filing date if your non-provisional patent application is approved.

Give a title for your invention. The initial web page of your non-provisional license application, likewise known as the requirements, provides the names and also residences of each innovator along with the name of the innovation. Your invention can have a title of as much as 500 personalities.

  • Make the title of your creation as short and particular as you potentially can. Your lawyer will aid you come up with the most effective title that represents the function of the invention and how it works.

Compose the history as well as summary of your creation. The history as well as summary area is a bit like informing the story. As the inventor, you are the hero of this story. Describe the problem you observed and the creation you produced to fix that problem. Begin at the start, with the first monitoring of the issue as well as the inspiration you had that led you to your development. Then, describe the steps you required to develop, test, as well as excellent your innovation.

  • Along the way, you can go over the previous art you uncovered in your search as well as explain just how none of those points solved the problem the method your development does. This helps identify your creation from that prior art.
  • Explain individuals that are likely to use your development as well as exactly how their lives will certainly be improved by it.

Include a comprehensive description of your development. Use clear, detailed terms to describe the procedure of making and also using your innovation. Your description must be detailed enough that someone with average skill in the field can make as well as use your creation without needing to go with a lot of experimentation.

  • Particularly distinguish your innovation from any associated creations that came before it or any other inventions made use of within your creation. As an example, if your development includes a wheel, you would require to be able to distinguish your creation from the wheel and clarify how your innovation is not merely an evident renovation on the wheel.
  • If your development is an enhancement on another invention, maintain your summary entirely to the improvement itself, not to the original development (other than the summary that may be required to discuss just how your renovation functions).

Note your distinct cases that recognize your advancement. The insurance claims are the heart of your patent application. Each insurance claim lists an unique thing that you are recognizing as brand-new, initial, and also patentable. Taken with each other, your insurance claims define the scope of protection your patent supplies.

  • You can have independent insurance claims, numbered back to back with Arabic characters. Each independent claim might have reliant cases that refer back to it. Dependent insurance claims usually act to restrict the independent insurance claim to which they refer.
  • The basic layout includes labeling the thing you’re asserting, followed by the word “making up.” Afterwards, you detail the parts of the important things, then clarify how they are attached. For example, if you were asserting a sandwich, you might write: “A sandwich making up: (a) 2 items of bread, and (b) peanut butter, and also (c) jelly, wherein the peanut butter is spread on one piece of bread as well as the jelly is spread on the various other, and afterwards they are smashed together.”

Supplement your description with drawings of the invention. The drawings are frequently one of the most vital part of your spec. The USPTO has strict demands for drawings, which are generally created by a specialist draftsman. Your lawyer likely has draftsmen they use often.

  • The illustrations show each of the distinct claims you make concerning your creation and also must reveal every attribute of your invention that you outlined in the insurance claims. A lot of specifications include lots of illustrations showing many different angles or sections of the innovation.
  • Ensure you have all the illustrations that you require for the license supervisor to comprehend the innovation. While you can amend your application in the future, you won’t have the ability to add brand-new illustrations due to the fact that these are considered “new issue.”

Authorize your vow or declaration. The vow or statement is a statement that you are the initial inventor of the development for which you have actually filed a patent application. An oath needs to be signed in the presence of a notary public. A statement, on the other hand, does not need to be notarized.

Determine your application costs making use of the cost schedule. When you send a non-provisional patent application, you need to pay the standard declaring fee, search charge, and assessment charge. There may be extra fees depending upon the length of your application as well as the variety of claims you make.

  • For example, if you qualify as a little entity, you would certainly pay a fundamental declaring cost of $150, a search cost of $330, and an exam fee of $380, for an overall of $860.

File your finished application with the USPTO. You can submit your application online making use of EFS-Web, via US mail shipment, or by hand-delivering it to the USPTO office in Alexandria, VA. However, if you choose the mail or hand-delivery choice, you need to pay an additional $400 non-electronic filing cost ($ 200 for small and also micro entities). If you have an attorney, they likely will submit your application digitally for you.

  • EFS-Web enables you to examine the standing of your application, respond to USPTO office activities, and also documents modifications to your application.

Working with Your Patent Examiner

Wait to receive an office action. If your application is accepted as well as identified to be complete, it will be designated to a patent examiner for exam. Because license supervisors take a look at applications in the order in which they have actually been filed, and due to the fact that a solitary exam can take months (otherwise years, depending upon the complexity of the application), it may be more than a year before you initially speak with the patent inspector. This is known as your initial office action.

Tip: Typically, your first office action will be adverse — even if you have an experienced attorney. Don’t take this personally or think that your attorney didn’t do their job. This is just how patent examinations work.

Reply to the initial activity with a details request for reconsideration. You (or your attorney) will certainly obtain a created notification listing the reasons for any kind of damaging activity, needs of the USPTO, and also arguments by the examiner. If you differ with any of these, you can ask for reconsideration of your application. The notice includes a target date for your reply.

The examiner may turn down some or every one of your insurance claims. If you’re okay with a more limited license, you may choose to go forward without the insurance claims the examiner prohibited.

  • If you differ with the inspector, you should demonstrate how the certain insurance claims are patentable.

Tip: You can request a meeting with the patent examiner to discuss the office action. However, you’re still responsible for getting your written reply in by the deadline.

Make modifications to your application if needed by your examiner. If you can make amendments that would certainly get over the inspector’s arguments or meet requirements the examiner did not think you had actually fulfilled, you are usually complimentary to do so. In your written respond to the supervisor, describe just how the modifications you made took care of the concerns they listed.

  • When making changes to your application, you are not permitted to include “new issue” to the application. For instance, you can’t add brand-new illustrations that clarify how your innovation functions, even if those brand-new illustrations would certainly get over the inspector’s objections.

Continue up until your license is released or the rejection made last. Generally, the supervisor’s 2nd action is final. The inspector’s notice will let you recognize whether your license has been permitted or denied.

  • If the inspector makes the denial of your patent last, you can appeal to the Patent Trial as well as Allure Board. You can likewise appeal claims that have been two times denied, even if your license was allowed without those insurance claims.

Pay the cost for the issuance of your license. If the patent examiner permits your patent, they will certainly send out a notice either to you or to your attorney. This notification consists of the amount you should pay for your license to be released. You should pay this fee within 3 months of the day on the notification or the USPTO will certainly concern your application as abandoned and you’ll have to start all over once again.

  • As of 2019, the concern cost for energy patents is $1,000 ($ 500 for small entities, $250 for mini entities).

Wait to get your license. As soon as your patent is given, the USPTO will certainly mail the certificate to you or to your lawyer. On the day the patent is provided, it comes to be searchable to the general public in the USPTO’s patent data source.

  • For your patent to stay active, you must pay maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years from the date the patent is granted. There is a 6-month grace period for paying your maintenance fees, after which your patent may expire.
  • As of 2019, a small entity would pay $800 after 3.5 years, $1,800 after 7.5 years, and $3,700 after 11.5 years. To find out how much you owe in maintenance fees check the most recent fee schedule on the USPTO website.
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