Patent law is an important subject, but few know very much about it. There is a lot to know about how you can apply for and obtain your own patents.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) accepts and examines all patent applications. There are three different kinds of patents: design patents, utility patents, and plant patents. There is a lot of complex but necessary research that goes into determining whether your invention is patentable and what you can claim in a patent application. As such, it is not advisable to go through the process on your own. It is best to consult with a registered patent lawyer. A patent lawyer can explain the steps involved in obtaining a patent, and help you understand patent rights and how to enforce them.

It is important to first understand the difference between a non-provisional patent application and a provisional patent application before you consider filing an application. In some instances, it is ideal for you to proceed with a non-provisional patent application. However, a provisional patent application is the best option for many others. Below are three questions to ask to help you determine whether you should file a provisional patent application.

1. Am I rushing with my application for a patent?

Patent Application

The process to obtain a patent is lengthy and involves several steps. Before publicly disclosing your invention, discuss your plans with a patent lawyer. Usually, the best way to initially disclose your invention is in a provisional patent application. After filing a provisional patent application, the USPTO will give you a full year to file a non-provisional application for a patent.

2. Can I afford non-provisional patent application fees?

The non-provisional patent prosecution process can be expensive, so some opt for the cheaper provisional patent application. Filing a provisional application is relatively inexpensive and it gives you the protection you need to disclose your invention to potential investors and partners without waiving your right to obtain a patent. After proving and realizing the commercial viability of your invention, you can then file a non-provisional patent application. Make sure an intellectual property attorney is advising you on the best strategy with respect to your invention.

3. Am I still in the final stages of the invention process?

Inventors are constantly developing improvements to modify their work. Provisional patent applications are especially useful in those last stages of development—you want coverage, but you are still finalizing the invention.

Intellectual property attorneys can help ensure that you disclose all of the possible iterations of your invention in your provisional application. This way, even if there are modifications to your prototype, you will not have to file an entirely new application with the USPTO and lose the benefit of an earlier priority date.

Patent law can be overwhelming. With so many law firms out there offering patent services, make sure that your would-be IP lawyer has both the qualifications and diligence to really assist you.

Our law firm can help you with your provisional and non-provisional patent applications, and make the process as easy and understandable as possible. Get the legal services of a registered patent attorney to enjoy intellectual property protection. Call us at War IP Law to inquire.