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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to get a patent

Getting a patent is a long complicated process, which is why some hire a patent lawyer to help them get it done. That’s an option if you want to pursue it but here are the basics to getting a patent with or without one.

The first thing you need to do is determine whether your idea is marketable. If it is, do a thorough patent search to see if one already exists. This can be done most easily on the website U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Then you should determine if the idea is patent-worthy.While fairly straightforward, the technical terms and legal aspects of filing a patent application can be confusing. I’ve attempted to outline the patent process step-by-step and include simple explanations of patent terminology you will encounter along the way. It should be noted that getting a Trademark or Copyright follows a very different process.If you have a patent lawyer they can issue a reply to have the case reexamined, or you can do so yourself. Multiple rejections are not uncommon and at some point you can schedule an in-person interview to discuss the patent application.

Spring shoes 1950.

Patent spring shoes 1950.

To get a patent, your invention also has to:
-Be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry - you can't get a patent for a theory or an idea, a discovery, an artistic work or an animal or plant variety, though there may be other ways to protect this intellectual property. See our guide on protecting intellectual property.
-Be new - your invention must not have been made public before you apply for a patent. This means it is essential that you keep your invention secret when you are developing your idea. You should make sure that everyone concerned - including partners, press, employees and suppliers - signs a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement before you talk about or collaborate on your invention. See our guide on non-disclosure agreements. You can also find out about confidentiality on the Intellectual Property Office website - Opens in a new window.
-Contain an inventive step - meaning the idea wouldn't be an obvious development to someone with a good knowledge of the field

The pogo stick 1920.

the pogo stick 1920.

Many people don’t realize just how much has already been patented. Even if you don’t see your invention on the shelves, that doesn’t mean it’s not already be owned by another inventor. Because of this, Noro IP highly recommends getting a Patentability (Novelty) Search done before applying for a patent. Patent applications can cost approximately $2,000 - $10,000 and take years to complete. But Patentability (Novelty) Searches start at $300 and take approximately 1-2 weeks, saving you considerable time and money to determine if your invention is patentable and if filing a patent application is worth it.An invention must be new, useful and non-obvious to get a patent granted. You may conduct a Patentability (Novelty) Search on your own using keywords and search terms using the free USPTO Patent Database or other patent databases. You will also want to search the USPTO’s Patent and Trademark Depository Library for other patent-related publications.If you have a patent you don't have to exploit it yourself. You can also make money by licensing somebody else to exploit it. This gives them the legal right to manufacture, use, sell or import your patented invention.Licensing a patent can be an important source of revenue for your business. Some businesses exist solely to collect the royalties from a patent they've licensed.

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