Any original invention that you can describe very clearly qualifies for getting a patent. That’s the rule. But how to patent an invention in the first place? And what happens after you do it? Are there any mistakes you should avoid? Here are the questions we will be answering in this piece.
How to Patent an Invention
We have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to do it, as we’ll immediately explain. The bad news is that it can cost somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 as an average price to get a simple patent. Therefore, seeing as it costs such a staggering amount of money just to get it, you should make sure that you follow the correct steps when you do it.
Largely speaking, what you have to do is fill in a regular patent application or RPA. This will set in motion the USPTO examination process. If all goes well, they will grant you your patent.
In the process, follow these steps as well.
- Create an exhaustive document which describes your invention. There’s no need to complicate yourself. A numbered, bound, and fixed-pages notebook is perfect. Make sure you include every possible detail in there.
- Put drawings in your notebook. If you’re not good at it, hire someone to do it because it’s a fantastic way to bulk up your application for a patent.
- Hire a professional to search for your idea. You might think you have a good grasp at playing Sherlock Holmes, but a professional will be able to find duplicates of your idea where you couldn’t.
- Get yourself a provisional patent. This type will protect your invention while you wait for them to tell you if they will grant you your patent or not. It takes a lot less time to build up the application for it, and it costs a lot less.
- Develop your idea as much as you can. Connect with local inventors, key names in your field, find online tools that can help you, and link to other patents.
- Build a working prototype of your idea. This can let you know if there are any mistakes in your design. Plus, it can lead to more ideas on developing the basic model.
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Mistakes to Avoid
- Never sell your invention 12 months before you apply for a patent. According to the law, if that much time has passed, you are no longer eligible to get a patent for it. Ever.
- Do not use the invention or idea publicly before you apply for a patent. The law does not allow it.
- If you file a relatively vague application, you will not receive a patent. Even though the application in itself does not have a set format, it is a known fact that they will reject it if it is not comprehensive enough.
Knowing how to patent an invention is truly more important than you give it credit. Extremely few inventions are actually original. Most of them build on the work of others. Therefore, having a strong application helps your case and secures your chances of receiving a patent.