Intellectual properties (IP) laws exist to help protect creators and innovators from having their inventions and creations stolen without their permission. Most original creations are subject to protection. Many people with new and innovative ideas and inventions are often unsure on how to protect their ideas and build upon them. It might be beneficial to get a patent to safeguard their intellectual property. But what steps can you take to get a patent?
Step 1. Determine the Intellectual Property Protection Required
There are several types of IP protection available for different types of creations. You can seek a patent, a copyright, a trademark, a trade secret, or even a combination of different protections. Discussing your idea with an intellectual property lawyer can be a beneficial first step in deciding what protection best suits you.
Step 2. Is Your Idea Patentable?
This may seem obvious, but it is an important step in the patent process. There are specific and detailed guidelines that decide whether an idea or invention can be patented. Or a similar/identical patented property may already exist. More information for determining eligibility can be found on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. If the process seems confusing or overwhelming, an intellectual property lawyer can assist in the process.
Step 3. Determine What Kind of Patent is Necessary
Once you have determined that you need a patent, and that your idea/invention is patentable, you must determine what category of patent your idea falls under. There are three unique types of patent available. These are design, utility, and plant. Utility patents are the most common. Consult the USPTO or an attorney for assistance determining the appropriate patent.
Step 4. Apply!
When all the pre-application research is done and requirements are met, you can finally submit an application to the USPTO for a patent for your invention. There is lots that goes into the application process, which can make it a bit confusing or overwhelming. If you have a patent lawyer, they can assist you through the application.
Step 5. Processing and Examination
After applying, your patent application will be processed and examined by the USPTO. The examiner will determine if your application meets the necessary requirements. Applicants will be given the opportunity to amend their applications based on the examiner’s findings. A patent attorney can help you submit a complete application, as well as work with the examiner in overcoming any objections or obstacles. And if the application is rejected, your attorney can help you appeal the decision. Once the application and examination are complete, you will receive your approval and have your patent!