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.
Online patent can be located for free. You can conduct a patent search online using a variety of free resources:
- Google Patents: Provides access to millions patents from multiple countries including the US, Europe and Japan.
- 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.
- European Patent Office (EPO), provides access to patent databases, documents and information from the EPO including the European Patent Register.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), provides access to multiple patent databases, including the Patent Cooperation Treaty search system.
- 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
1.1 IP Basics
1.1.3 Trade secret
1.1.4 Unfair competition
2.4.3 Do I own the invention?
2.4.6 Is it novel?
2.4.7 Is it non-obvious?
5.4.5 Prior art
5.4.7 Multiple inventions
6.4.2 “Overview” page
6.4.3 “Background” section
6.4.4 “Summary” section
6.5.2 Adding a new figure
6.5.5 PPA Cover Sheet page
6.6 Filing online
7.2 What you can do?
8.1.2 Search for prior art.
9.3.1 Consultant’s Agreement
9.4.5 Transmittal letter
11.2.1 Notice of Allowance
12.2 Patent expiration