In the past, the United States had a “first to invent” system when it comes to patent protection. In September of 2011, however, Congress passed the America Invents Act and switched to a “first to file” system. This is why it is paramount that you file a patent application in a timely manner to obtain legal protection for your invention from copycats. Inventors who fail to file a patent application will have a hard time proving that their inventions were original.

Applying for a Patent

patentsIf you created a genuine innovation, you deserve to benefit from your labor. Make the effort to apply for a utility patent, or some other form of patent protection. Filing a patent application is a more complex process than registering a copyright for an artistic work. To obtain patent rights on your invention, it must meet patentability requirements.

  • Novelty – Under US patent law, your invention is considered novel if you were the first to invent it. To find out if it is, in fact, novel, search for prior art on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website or Google Patents. This refers to patents issued previously or published patent applications. The patent search is best done online.
  • Usefulness – For your invention to be patentable, it must have a useful purpose.
  • Non-obviousness – This means that your invention wouldn’t be considered obvious with respect to the prior art by an ordinary person in the field of your invention.

Patent Filing

To apply for patent protection, an inventor must file an application with the USPTO. This must include a detailed description of the invention with drawings, diagrams, graphs, and charts that are necessary to permit those skilled in the art to use the invention when the patent expires.

Most importantly, the patent will include claims that describe the extent and limits of the invention. The inventors may try and do this themselves, but the services of patent attorneys are invaluable in guaranteeing the proper filing of a complete patent application. A lawyer specializing in patent law will also be helpful in responding to follow-up queries or even rejections from the US PTO. The patent process could take anywhere from several months to several years.

The USPTO regularly publishes a copy of patent applications around 18 months after they are is filed. Until the patent is granted by the USPTO, the invention has a “patent pending” status. Generally, this is enough to put the threat of a patent infringement charge in the minds of potential infringing copycats.

For Patenting Concerns, Contact an Intellectual Property Law Attorney Today!

If you want to apply for a patent, it behooves you to engage the services of an IP attorney. You will receive guidance in your application to ensure protection for your invention. In case your patent is infringed, you will also get invaluable legal advice regarding patent litigation.

As an inventor, you should benefit from your ingenuity. For legal assistance in dealing with the USPTO and other patent-related matters, call us at War IP Law and speak with an experienced patent lawyer.