Safeguarding an invention is possible through filing a patent application. The creator can protect any design, program, or process that meets certain practicality and originality requirements. Obtaining a patent will protect an invention for up to 20 years. Read on to find more about patents and why they are vital in today’s world.
Filing a patent
Filing for a patent starts with submitting a formal application through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. An attorney can help you through this process, which should be done before you publicly disclose the service or product, publish a description, sell it, or otherwise make it available for commercial purposes.
How to properly patent in other countries
Applying for a patent in another country does add cost and complexity. For starters, you cannot get patent protection in many countries if the product was already publicly available or described before the first application was filed. Therefore, it is best to make your invention public only after a first patent application is filed.
Options for foreign patent filing include the European Patent Convention or Patent Cooperation Treaty. Filing with one of the above can help to obtain patent protection in multiple countries. Note that you will be required to pay multiple fees for every country in which you file your patent application.
How long does it take to receive a patent in the United States?
Receiving a patent in the United States typically takes between 18 and 24 months. The speed at which your application is approved often depends on how similar the ‘prior art’ that the examiner finds is to your invention. The process is also rather expensive. Be ready to spend somewhere between $10,000 to $15,000 to get a patent in the United States. It is also important to consider additional costs such as maintenance fees, which are due after a patent issues.
Is there a low-cost approach to getting a patent?
The provisional patent process can initially save some costs. Somewhat lower preparation costs and filing fees can get an application on file with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Your lawyer can then file a follow-up ‘utility’ application within 12 months. This process has some pros and cons which you should discuss with a knowledgeable patent attorney.