If you have an idea for a new product or some form of invention, then it makes sense to protect that by applying for a patent. Applying for a patent is a long process, but it is something that you can do by yourself if you are willing to put the time and research in.
Thousands of inventors have been able to successfully take out a patent without the help of an attorney. The US Patent and Trademark Office is required, under federal law, to have patent examiners provide assistance to inventors who wish to apply for a patent by themselves.
What Can Be Patented?
If you want to get a patent, you need to be able to describe all aspects of the new product you have created accurately and in detail. You will need to make sure that your product or invention qualifies for a patent before you really start worrying about how to get a patent.
It is important that you record the invention process create diagrams as well as written descriptions of each iteration for the invention. Note down how you came up with the idea, sign and date each note, and if possible, make a prototype. It helps if you can have reliable witnesses sign the documents.
It costs around $1,500 to obtain a patent, even if you do so by yourself instead of getting an attorney to do it for you. This means that you should think carefully before you apply for a patent. Are you sure that you will be able to make money from the product? Do you really have a business idea or a concept that you want to protect? If you are wondering how to get a patent, you should think about those things.
For something to be patentable, the idea must be new, and non-trivial. This means that you will need to look through existing patents in the same field not just in the USA, but also abroad. You should also look at technical journals and scientific publications, to make sure that there is nothing out there that is public knowledge which would make your patent invalid.
You can start your patent research online, but you should also look at patent libraries, and consider everything that comes up. It is likely you will find ideas that are similar to yours, and that doesnt mean that you cant apply for a patent for your idea as well however, to do so you will need to prove that your idea is unique in some way. How does it improve on the existing patents?
Once you are confident that you have an idea which can be patented, you can apply for a providional patent application. This is not the same as a patent, however it will allow you to claim patent pending status. From there, you have a year to apply for a real patent, and it will come into effect from the date of the provisional patent. The PPA is optional, but it is worth doing, because it offers a quicker and more affordable route towards protecting your idea.