How to Protect Your Invention with the Patent system

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Basics of intellectual property (IP): Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets.

A patent is a form of IP protection that gives the holder exclusive rights to use, make, and sell an invention for a certain period of time. In order to be eligible for a patent, an invention must be new, useful, and non-obvious.

The process for applying for a patent application can vary depending on the type of patent and the country in which you are applying. However, in general, the steps for applying for a patent typically include:

  • Conducting a patent search: Before applying for a patent, it’s important to search for existing patents to ensure that your invention is new and non-obvious.
  • Preparing the application: This typically includes drafting the specification, which is a detailed description of the invention, as well as any drawings or diagrams that may be necessary to understand the invention. You’ll also need to prepare claims, which define the scope of the invention.
  • Filing the application: Once the application is prepared, it must be filed with the appropriate patent office. This typically includes paying a filing fee and submitting the application along with any necessary documents.
  • Examination: After the application is filed, it will be examined by a patent examiner. The examiner will determine if the application meets the necessary requirements for a patent.
  • Allowance or rejection: If the examiner determines that the application meets the necessary requirements, they will issue a notice of allowance. If the application is rejected, the applicant can respond by addressing the issues raised by the examiner or by appealing the decision.
  • Grant and Maintenance fee : Once the patent is granted, maintenance fees must be paid to keep the patent in force.
  • Please note that this is a general overview of the process and the specifics may vary depending on the country you are applying in. It’s also a good idea to consult a patent attorney or agent to guide you through the process and ensure that your application is properly prepared.

Next we discuss the patenting process in depth and there is much to talk about.  If you want to short-cut the process, we have a free provisional patent filing software created to help inventors.

In general, before you patent, you should conduct a patent search.  Patent searches are a process that looks for patents in existence and publishes patent applications. This helps to determine whether an invention is novel or not. This is a crucial step for inventors and businesses in order to make sure their ideas don’t infringe existing patents, and to determine the market potential for their invention. Online databases like the US Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office (EPO) allow patent searches to be made.

Online patent can be located for free. You can conduct a patent search online using a variety of free resources:

  1. Google Patents: Provides access to millions patents from multiple countries including the US, Europe and Japan.
  2. The US Patent and Trademark Office allows you to view and search patents issued by USPTO. This includes full-text and image searches of patents dating back as far as 1790.
  3. European Patent Office (EPO), provides access to patent databases, documents and information from the EPO including the European Patent Register.
  4. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), provides access to multiple patent databases, including the Patent Cooperation Treaty search system.
  5. Patent pending: A free resource that offers information about the patent process and a searchable database with pending patent applications.

How to Get a Free Patent

A patent is a legal process that requires you to file a patent application with a government agency such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the European Patent Office. This process can be costly and requires the hiring of a patent attorney to prepare and file the application.

There is no free way to obtain a patent. You will need to pay government fees in order to obtain a patent. These fees can vary depending on where you live and what type of patent. Additional costs may be incurred for hiring a patent agent or attorney to help with the application process.

You may be able to obtain a patent without the expense. However, if you are unable to pay for a full patent application, there are other options. These include a provisional petition application that allows you to set a filing date and protect your intellectual property at a lower price. For advice about the best way to handle your situation, it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney or patent professional.

Free help for inventors

There are many resources that can help inventors with their invention.

  • US Patent and Trademark Office: The USPTO provides free resources to inventors. This includes a tutorial about the patent process, information regarding patent search, and a list listing independent inventors’ organisations.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA provides free resources to inventors and small business owners, including information about starting and growing small businesses, as well as access to training and counseling.
  • Public libraries: There are many resources available to inventors in public libraries, including access databases of patent information and reference materials about the patent process.
  • Online forums: Many online discussion groups and forums are available for inventors and entrepreneurs. Here you can find advice and support from other inventors.
  • Technology transfer offices at universities: Many universities have technology transfer office that can offer support and resources for inventors and startups. They also have access to patent databases and expert advice in commercializing technology.

These resources are valuable, but it is important to remember that they may not be able to provide you with the right advice.  Thus, after you have helped yourself with free patent resources such as the ProvisionalBuilder(R) software from Inventiv, we recommend you seek help from a pro-bono patent attorney.

Pro bono patent attorney

Pro bono patent attorneys offer their services free of charge or at a reduced rate to inventors who cannot afford the cost to obtain a patent.

Many organizations offer pro bono assistance in patent matters to inventors.

  • Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts provides pro bono legal support to artists. This includes help with trademark and patent issues.
  • The Legal Aid Society: Provides pro bono legal assistance to low-income people, including help with trademark and patent issues.
  • Patent Pro Bono Program: This national program connects low-income inventors to volunteer patent attorneys who can offer pro bono legal advice.
  • The Inventors Assistance Center is a division within the US Patent and Trademark Office. It provides information and assistance for independent inventors.

Noting that pro bono attorneys are not always available in all areas, and that there might be a waiting list for certain services, is important. Pro bono patent attorneys may be able to provide valuable assistance and you should seek their advice about the best way to proceed in your particular situation.

ProvisionalBuilder™ is free software for preparing a high quality provisional patent application.  Sign-up for your free access today!

Table of Content

1. Introduction to Inventiv

   1.1  IP Basics

1.1.1  Copyright

1.1.2  Trademark

1.1.3   Trade secret

1.1.4   Unfair competition

1.1.5   Patents

1.2  How do I determine which IP category is best for me

2. Patent Basics

2.1  What is the legal authority behind patents?

2.2  What government agency is in charge of administering patents?

2.3  What are the advantages of owning a patent?

2.4   Factors to consider before Patenting:

2.4.1 Is the invention commercializable?

2.4.2  Did I invent the invention?

2.4.3  Do I own the invention?

2.4.4   Is the invention patentable?

2.4.5  Does it fit into a patent “class”?

2.4.6  Is it novel?

2.4.7   Is it non-obvious?

3. How to set up an account with the USPTO?

3.1     Getting Started – New Users

3.2     USPTO Registration Modernizing – key considerations

3.3     Filing types available at Account

4. Will I need a patent attorney or agent for the application process?

4.1  What’s the difference between a patent attorney and agent?

4.2  What is the process to become a USPTO registered patent attorney or patent agent?

4.3  Is there paperwork that an attorney may ask me to sign for his/her services?

5. What is a provisional patent application (PPA)?

5.1  What is provisional patent application (PPA)?

5.2  What are the benefits of a provisional patent?

5.3   What are the drawbacks of a provisional patent?

5.4   What is the recommended format for a provisional patent application (PPA)?

5.4.1  Title

5.4.2  Abstract

5.4.3  Drawings

5.4.4  Description

5.4.5   Prior art

5.4.6  Inventor

5.4.7  Multiple inventions

5.4.8  Fees

5.5  What should I think about in drafting the PPA application?

5.6  What is optional for a PPA?

5.6.1  Claims

5.6.2   Prototype

5.7  What do you do for improvements after PPA filing?

6. How can ProvisionalBuilder™ help with this process?

6.1 What are the benefits to using ProvisionalBuilder™?

6.2  How does ProvisionalBuilder™ work?

6.3  What do I do after ProvisionalBuilder™ is installed?

6.4  How do I start an application on ProvisionalBuilder?

6.4.1  New application—template selection

6.4.2  “Overview” page

6.4.3  “Background” section

6.4.4  “Summary” section

6.4.5  “Detailed Description” section

6.5 “Drawing & Description” page

6.5.1   Drawings

6.5.2   Adding a new figure

6.5.3 Drafting the Detailed Description from the Drawings

6.5.4 Suggestions for Drafting the Detailed Description of the Drawing

6.5.5  PPA Cover Sheet page

6.5.6 Generate application page

6.6  Filing online

6.7  Filing by USPS Express Mail

7. After you submit a PPA

7.1  What the USPTO does?

7.2  What you can do?

7.2.1  May mark product with “patent pending” or “patent applied”

7.2.2   You can file Multiple PPAs

7.2.3  Convert a PPA to a utility patent application

8. Utility Patent Application

8.1 Preparatory steps before drafting your Utility Patent Application?

8.1.1 Document the invention process.

8.1.2  Search for prior art.

8.1.3 Be aware of imperfections in the search process

8.2 Inventorship – what happens when you have multiple inventors?

8.2.1  How to fix improper inventorship?

8.2.2  How to correct typos in the name?

8.2.3  Ownership

8.3  How to protect your ownership if you hire consultants to work on your invention?

9.3.1 Consultant’s Agreement

9.3.2 Joint Ownership Agreement (JOA)

8.4  Does your employer have rights in your invention?

9.4.1  If your employer isn’t interested in your invention submission

9. File a Utility Patent Application

9.1 Can I reuse information from my PPA or other applications?

9.2  What should I consider in drafting the utility application?

9.3   How do I write the claims?

9.4   What documents are needed in filing the utility application?

9.4.1  Specification

9.4.2  Information Disclosure Statement (IDS)

9.4.3 Inventor’s Oath or Declaration

9.4.4   Fees

9.4.5   Transmittal letter

9.4.6   Drawings

9.4.7   Optional

9.5 Can you request early publication of your application?

9.6 What is a secrecy order

10. What happens after the utility application is filed?

10.1 How to Respond to Formality/Pre-Examination Review?

11. How to respond to office actions?

11.1 First Office Action (OA)

11.1.1  How to handle an office action

11.1.2  First office action allowance (Ex parte Quayle)

11.1.3    Amendment in response to Office Action (OA)

11.1.4  How to request an interview with the examiner?

11.1.5  What happens if a response is not timely filed?

11.2  Second or Final Office Action (OA)

11.2.1  Notice of Allowance

11.2.2 Reconsideration

11.2.3  Amendment

11.2.4  Request to continue the examination after a final office action

12. The USPTO has issued your patent.

12.1 How long does a utility patent last?

12.2  Patent expiration

12.3  Extensions to the Patent

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