It is probable that no one on earth knows your invention more intimately than you do. When innovation strikes, it can often become all consuming. Hundreds, possibly thousands of hours will be dedicated by an inventor taking an idea to production. The task can be equally exciting and daunting. The footpath on the road less traveled may be uncertain, feel unstable and quite possibly scare the once excited inventor running stark out of the mission early on. Those of you who do not give up easily and enjoy the challenges in the process will surely find your way. Your devotion to your innovation is commendable to say the least.
Regardless of the stage of development you are currently in, it is always of paramount importance to protect your invention. Whether it exists as only a thought in your mind or you have a prototype on your desk, there is no time like the present to file a provisional patent application. Even the most sophisticated inventors become overwhelmed when faced with the patenting process. Often encountered are fears that the concept is not patentable, is already patented. Whatever your fear may be, no outcome can be worse than potentially having your million dollar idea stolen. Protecting your intellectual property with a provisional patent will give you the time you need to develop your product and protect it at the same time.
Getting a provisional patent application accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is not as difficult as one might think. There are specific measures you can take to assist your patent attorney in processing a successful provisional patent application in as little time as a week. Here is a list of surefire steps you can take to make sure your invention gets the protection it deserves:
1) Do not share your idea with anyone other than your patent attorney prior to receiving acceptance of your provisional patent application, stamped with a filing date from the USPTO.
2) Contact a patent attorney as early in the development process as possible.
3) Write a list of essential information about your invention to assist your patent attorney with your application. Include in the description the background of your invention, a paragraph or two describing the problems that your invention will solve. Next, outline the solutions to the problems you identified. This is the assets that your invention is comprised of. Finally, you want to send photos, or illustrations of your invention with detailed descriptions. Try to be as specific as possible with the composition of materials and any details of the design that are essential to the invention. The more information you provide your attorney the better they will understand your invention.
4) You will need a small amount of money to cover the filing fee. The fee will be less than $100 for a provisional patent application filed in the US only. Once filed in the US, you will be given a provisional patent application number that you can use when applying in other countries.
Remember not to over pay for this part of the process. The USPTO will not analyze your provisional patent application for patentability. Therefore, there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on this phase in the developmental process. Find a reputable attorney or patent agency to draft a provisional application for you. Do not let high price quotes deter you from securing protection for your invention.
Once you have a provisional patent application on file with the USPTO it is time to follow through with your dream. You will have one year to file non-provisional patent application with the USPTO. This time can be devoted to research and development of your invention, as well as preparing the non-provisional patent. You may even begin to generate revenue by selling your invention. Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short by forgoing the patent process. It is well worth the investment of a skilled patent attorney to draft and submit a non-provisional patent application on your behalf, as this part of the process determines if you will be granted exclusive right to sell, manufacture and distribute your invention in the US for up to 20 years. Whatever the future may hold I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor!