Patent Filing Guide Every Step Simplified (And Common Mistakes)

Patent Filing Guide: Every Step Simplified (And Common Mistakes)

The Patent filing process isn’t easy to understand at first, and you may feel the need to have some guidance. If you’re looking an all-encompassing patent filing guide, then your search should end here. The patent process is very expensive with absolutely no assurance about the grant of a patent. Hence, it is all the more critical to understand that you must get every step of the process right. There are different forms, guidelines, deadlines, etc. to take care of which you must be aware of. Let’s dive into this patent filing guide and understand everything there is to know.

Patent Filing Guide: A Stepwise Approach

The sequence of steps to follow might seem confusing. But don’t worry, here you’ll find a complete stepwise guide for patent filing.

Patentability Criteria

Before even thinking about the filing process, you must ensure that your invention is patentable. This means checking if your invention is novel, functional and non-obvious. You can do this through a patentability search. This involves searching for prior art in the field of the invention. You must check for material in written format, be it existing patents, patent applications, research publications, etc. Once you get the results of this search, you can decide if you want to go ahead with the filing process.

Determine the Type of Patent

If you think your invention is patentable, you can move to the next step which is deciding your patent type. There are 3 broad categories of patents that the USPTO offers. They are:

  • Utility patent:  This patent protects how a product or process functions. Utility patents protect functional and new inventions or systems. It is valid for 20 years.
  • Plant patent: It is useful if you have created a new species of plant. Plant prevents other companies from breeding it. It has validity for 20 years as well.
  • Design patent: These cover the way a manufactured product looks but it isn’t concerned with its usefulness or function. However, you can get a design patent ONLY for useful inventions. Design patents are valid for 15 years.

Draft The Patent Application

After determining the patent type, the next step in the patent filing guide in drafting your patent application. The USPTO follows a “first to file” procedure. Therefore, whoever files the application for an invention first, gets priority. Following are the types of patent applications that you can file:

  1. Provisional Application

This application is a simple tool to secure a priority date. You need not describe the application completely here. The basic purpose is to disclose your invention, secure a priority date, and later use that priority when filing a non-provisional application. You get 12 months to file a non-provisional application from the date of filing of the provisional application.

This is a complete patent application, and it is the real deal. Hence, you must include every single detail about your invention, right down to the last fiber of its being. Claims, drawings, descriptions, etc. need to be pitch-perfect for this application.

  • International Methods

You may want protection for your invention in a multiple number of countries. These are options given by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which allow you to do that. You may file an application under the following:

Each type requires you to follow a set of norms and standards that you must meet while preparing the application.

Filing the Patent

The most important part of this patent filing guide is the submission of your application draft. You can submit the application either online or offline.

  • Online

You can use EFS-Web for online filing. It is the USPTO’s electronic filing system for patent applications. It is also used for any official correspondence with the USPTO via the Internet.

  • Offline

You can send the application via delivery by U.S. mail, or hand delivery to the Office in Alexandria, Virginia. But, the offline method charges you a lot of extra money. So, it is preferable to use the online method.

Common Mistakes

Entities often are not careful about certain things which end up as the reasons for not getting a patent. Some of them include:

  • Not describing the invention in enough detail: You must understand that getting a patent grant is not easy. You need to be careful while selecting which information to include. The examiner runs a fine-tooth comb through your application. If things aren’t clear, he/she wouldn’t hesitate to strike your application down.
  • Incomplete or no research on prior art: Before filing, you absolutely must dig up everything you can. If a similar prior art exists, then you must ensure that your invention is different.
  • Directly filing a non-provisional application: This can be counter-productive if you are in a competitive market or if you are unaware of the process. Therefore, it is always better to first file a provisional application. You should use the 12-months’ time to complete the invention and improve the non-provisional application.
  • Not hiring a lawyer: You must understand that this process is a tedious one and if this is your first time, you will face obstacles. Investing money in a lawyer will not be a waste as it will bolster your chances of getting the patent.

Why choose us? – The Patent Filing Company

After reading this patent filing guide, you may feel the need to take the assistance of a patent professional. Be mindful of the steps and deadlines involved.  You should consider engaging a patent professional / firm who has years of experience in the patent field. We offer complete support for provisional patent application filing, design & utility patent Applications, patentability search reports, nonprovisional patent application filing, patent drawings and much more. Visit us to avail our Patent Filing services.

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Patent Watch: Why Do I Need It?

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