If you have come up with the next best invention that is set to change the world, congratulations! Have you been sharing a prototype or telling your friends and co-workers about it? If so, you need to protect your idea right away. There is a rather easy way to do it. Here's how.
File for a Provisional Patent
To be able to sell your new invention or product idea and protect it moving forward, you will need to patent it. There are several steps and costs involved in filing an actual patent. That is why provisional patents are often recommended as a first line of defense to protect your idea and best interests.
Filing for a provisional patent involves filling out a provisional patent application through the United States Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO. This allows you to obtain micro entity status and secures your idea with the USPTO. It allows you to secure your patent quickly and sets the timestamp for starting the patent process. Keep in mind a provisional patent is only good for around 12 months. Your attorney may recommend this step first before applying for the full patent or non-provisional patent.
Prepare for Non-Provisional Patent
Once you have filed for your provisional patent and secured your invention, you'll want to move forward with a non-provisional patent. This is a more complex version of a provisional patent. You can fill out the application by yourself if you wish, but it is highly recommended to hire a patent attorney to complete it.
It can be complex and range from discussing business goals to clarifying the scope of patentability. It also involves extensive searching of existing patents or businesses that are the same or similar. Proper drawings of the inventions and a detailed description should be included.
Beware of The Poor Man's Patent
In the past, many inventors immediately filed for a poor man's patent. It is simply writing down your personal information and details about your invention and what you want to patent. Then you place it in an envelope and mail it to yourself. This time stamps the envelope and serves as a temporary declaration of ideation and ownership.
While it serves its purpose, it doesn't necessarily stand up in a court of law. In 2013, the poor man's patent was abolished and no longer serves as a way to prove ownership of a product or idea. Filing a provisional patent should be your step in securing your invention.
Thousands of inventors file for provisional patent applications each year. This is a great foundation for the development, marketing, and sale of your product. The sky is the limit!
For more information, contact a local company, like Menlo Park Patents.