How to Apply for a Patent in Washington
If you have a brilliant idea that has the potential to improve the quality of life of millions, filing for a patent is the best way to protect yourself and your invention. Whether you intend to file a provisional or non-provisional application for your patent, a professional attorney can provide you with the assistance you need.
Usually, you can get free legal assistance for your patent from the Patent Pro Bono Program. However, sometimes it takes up to three months before you can become matched with a lawyer. Since time is a crucial factor in filing your patent, our qualified patent attorneys at War IP Law are here to help. Work with one of our lawyers to stay ahead of the competition and keep your innovation or invention tied to your name. We will guide you through important information to help your case and give you a clear answer to your questions, such as “how do I apply for a patent?”
What is a patent?
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO), the legal definition of a patent is an issuance provided by the USTPO that grants the inventor of an invention the property right to their invention. These grants are only effective in the United States, its territories, and its possessions. Therefore, if you want your patent to be valid in other countries, you would need to file a patent with the patent offices of those nations.
As stated in the statute and the patent grant itself, the patent holder is granted the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing the invention in the United States. This does not mean the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell, or import the invention themselves, but rather the right to prevent others from doing so. Once a patent is issued, it is the responsibility of the patentee to enforce their patent without assistance from the USPTO.
How long does a patent last?
Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or adjustments may be available.
What kind of patent should I file?
The type of patent you should file depends on the subject matter of your invention. The patent law specifies the general field of subject matter that can be patented and the conditions under which a patent may be obtained.
There are three main types of patents:
Plant patents are a type of patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new and distinct variety of asexually reproduced plants. This type of patent is granted to anyone who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a new variety of plants other than a tuber-propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.
To obtain a plant patent, the applicant must file an application with the USPTO that includes:
- A specification describing the plant and its characteristics,
- One or more photographs or drawings of the plant.
The USPTO will then examine the application to determine if the plant is new, distinct, uniform, and stable. If the plant meets these criteria, the USPTO will issue a plant patent to the applicant.
A plant patent grants the owner the exclusive right to asexually reproduce the plant, to sell, to offer for sale, and to use the plant in breeding or hybridizing programs. The term of a plant patent is 20 years from the date of filing the application.
Plant patents are important for the protection of new plant varieties and provide an incentive for individuals and companies to invest in the development of new plant varieties. They also help to ensure that new plant varieties are available to the public and not restricted by exclusive rights held by a single individual or company.
Utility patents cover a wide range of inventions, from technological innovations to pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
Utility patents are a type of patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter, or any new and useful improvements thereof. This type of patent is the most common and provides broad protection for inventions across a wide range of industries.
To obtain a utility patent, the applicant must file an application with the USPTO that includes:
- A detailed description of the invention, including how it works and how to make and use it.
- Any relevant drawings or diagrams.
The USPTO will then examine the application to determine if the invention meets the criteria for patentability, including novelty, non-obviousness, and usefulness.
If the invention meets these criteria, the USPTO will issue a utility patent to the applicant, granting them the exclusive right to make, use, and sell the invention for a period of 20 years from the date of filing the application. During this time, the patent owner can enforce their rights against anyone who attempts to use or sell the invention without their permission.
Design patents are a type of patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. Unlike utility patents, which protect the way an invention works, design patents protect the way an invention looks.
To obtain a design patent, the applicant must file an application with the USPTO that includes:
- Drawings or photographs of the design from multiple angles
- A written description of the design and a statement of the article for which the design is intended to be used.
Once the application is filed, the USPTO will examine the design to determine if it meets the criteria for patentability, including novelty and non-obviousness. If the design is deemed to be new, original, and ornamental, the USPTO will issue a design patent to the applicant, granting them the exclusive right to use and license the design for a period of 15 years from the date of grant.
Design patents are often used to protect the appearance of consumer products, such as furniture, jewelry, and fashion accessories. They are also commonly used to protect the designs of electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
What is the process of filing a patent?
The process of filing a patent in Washington State is similar to filing a patent anywhere in the United States. Here are the general steps involved:
- Determine if your invention is eligible for patent protection: As mentioned earlier, not all inventions are eligible for patent protection. Your invention must be new, useful, and non-obvious to be eligible.
- Conduct a patent search: Before filing a patent, it’s essential to conduct a patent search to ensure that your invention is not already patented. You can use the USPTO’s online database to conduct a patent search.
- Prepare and file a patent application: If your invention is eligible for patent protection, the next step is to prepare and file a patent application with the USPTO. The application must include a detailed description of your invention, including drawings if applicable.
- Wait for the patent office’s response: After filing your patent application, you will receive a response from the USPTO. The response will either be an acceptance of your application or a request for further information or clarification.
- Prosecute your patent: If your application is accepted, you will need to prosecute your patent to obtain the actual patent. Prosecution involves communicating with the USPTO to address any issues or objections that arise during the examination process.
- Maintain your patent: Once you have obtained your patent, you will need to pay maintenance fees to keep it in force. These fees must be paid regularly, typically every few years.
It’s important to note that the patent application process can be complex and time-consuming. Many inventors choose to work with a patent attorney to ensure that their application is complete and accurate. Additionally, the process can take several years, so patience and persistence are essential.
Legally Own Your Invention by Filing a Patent Today
In conclusion, filing a patent can be a complex and daunting process, but with the help of War IP Law, it can be made simple and straightforward. By following the steps outlined by their team of experienced attorneys, inventors can legally protect their ideas and inventions from infringement and gain exclusive rights to their intellectual property. Don’t let your hard work and creativity go to waste. Take the first step towards securing your invention by contacting War IP Law today.