It is a sound idea to get a patent when you realise that you have invented something that stands out from the crowd. But getting a patent is not a child’s play and thus, you must ensure that you are covered on the must-know basics in this subject. This blog has brought you an overview of how to get a patent on a product explaining the checkpoints that are too crucial to skip.
It is a time-consuming and head-scratching thing to navigate ways to understand the process to patent a product Chasing it can be incredibly difficult especially when you are a new inventor and this is when the entire application demands can come daunting to you. But don’t you worry child as we have gathered this ultimate guide on how to get a patent for a product.
A patent refers to the grant of property rights to an individual for a particular span of time. This grant is provided by the federal government. It gives protection to your invention and keeps anyone other than the inventor from recreating, altering, and/ or selling it when the patent is active.
If we put it simply, a patent protects one’s invention from getting stolen and it also keeps anyone monetising the inventor’s idea. In case anyone does violate the rights that belong to you, then you have the freedom to take a legal step against them. In the US, the patents are governed by the USPTO, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who gives them to inventions that meet specific criteria.
One of the most common questions regarding patents is what all can one patent. As we know that a patent is all about the protection of one's invention but what is the specific criteria for that invention?
The US statute brings forth these four general categories for patent-eligible subject matter-
If your invention does not come in any of these categories then you may not even need any patent. For instance, you cannot get a patent if your product is a website or a service, or a mobile app . You also cannot patent things such as mathematical formulas or naturally occurring substances. There are some additional requirements in the criteria such as- it should be novel and not obvious. Besides that, it should be useful.
Before you head out to get a patent for your product, you should ask yourself if your idea is patentable? It is only a waste of time to head out excitingly and jump into the product design before you even get things put together. Know that it only causes issues in future. Before you get started with this process, it is best to just sit down, relax and mindfully ask yourself if your invention or an idea comes in any of the above mentioned categories. You should also ask yourself if this idea is new. Even if you may believe that you have a new idea, it is possible that it is not. A thorough patent search should be your next move to address this.
A patent comes in different types. There are three different sides to a patent namely- design, utility and plant. Each of these patent types comes with their own special criteria as well as provisions. In the world of design and development, you only find two types- utility and design.
Let us now read on what each type of patent means-
1. Utility Patent
Utility patents are the most common type of patents and these are granted to inventors who have invented a new manufacture, process, machine or a composition. They can also be given to individuals who enhance an existing manufacture, process, machine or a composition. They encompass anything and everything ranging from manufactured goods, to technical processes as well as chemical compounds.
There are two subsections under the utility patent- business method patent as well as software patent. Business method patents refer to the patents that are offered to individuals who create a new process or method for conducting a business. On the other side, another type of utility patent, the Software patent, is the one that can be given to an individual who has invented a new type of software that clears the "machine or transformation" test. You must know that both these subsets can be challenging to fetch as many times they come under the category of "abstract idea" and thus, are rejected from being patented.
2. Design Patent
A design patent is another type of patent that is granted to those who invent a new aesthetic design for a product. This patent type is most commonly evident in industrial design. It can include a shape, a non functional part or configuration. The inventor must make sure that the design is not capable of being separated from the object that it is on. One must also note that the design patent will only protect the appearance of the object and not the functionality or features. The functions and features of a product come under the utility patent.
3. Plant Patent
Plant patent is a type of patent that is awarded to an individual who has invented a new type of plant. In order to qualify for this patent, plant has to be asexually reproduced. The inventor must know that the plant cannot be a tuber propagated one, like a potato, and also that it has not been discovered in an uncultivated state.
Patent cost depends on the type of invention and of course, its complexity level. The patent cost in the USA is widely determined by the complexity and type of the creation one has made. There are patent filing costs that are paid to the USPTO in order to file as well as maintain your inventor rights all through the lifespan of the patent.
Patent filing costscan range from $70 to $545, depending on the complexity level of your invention. Then you must also know that there are legal fees to be considered if you are planning to hire an attorney for the process. Patent legal fees start from a couple of thousand dollars and go up to tens of thousands of dollars. You can navigate the current patent fees and charges schedule on the official website of USPTO.
|Type of Patent||Patent Cost||Known for|
|Design Patent||$2,000 - $5,500||Legal protection of the unique visual qualities|
|Provisional Patent||$1,000 - $5,000||Allows to file an invention without a formal patent claim from being copied.|
|Utility Patent||$5,000 - $20,000||Inventing the most useful product, new manufacturing process, machine or a composition.|
|Plant Patent||$4,500 - $7,620||Invention of new variety of plant excluding tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state|
Of course, you can perform the patent process without hiring an attorney, but it is strongly advised to not do so. Exploring the patent world is one long, tiring and challenging process for which you need the right knowledge and tools in order to not find yourself lost in the way. Therefore, it is imperative to have a good patent attorney and know that it is worth the money.
Apart from patent filing costs and legal fees, you also have to pay attention to the patent maintenance cost. This cost is incurred by the maintenance of the patent which helps keep it active. Know that it happens in the case of the utility patents and not in design and plant patents.
It is also to be noted that patent maintenance cost in the USA is paid on the 3, 7, as well as 11 year marks and it can start from $400 and range up to $2,000 which also depends on the year mark and entity classification. If you fail to pay these fees, then all your inventor rights for your invention will expire along with the patent.
It takes about 22 months on an average in order to get a patent approval. There are many cases when you are qualified to get into the prioritised patent examination program that is also known as Track One. In this program your patent is awarded within a period of 12 months and there are also instances where the disposition is granted in as little as the time of 6 months.
It must be noted that this program is not free and can cost about $1,000 to $4,000 over all the regular filing fees. On top of that, this program only accepts 10,000 applicants each year.
Patents usually last for about 20 years. It is all up to the type of patent you hold which affects how long it can go as enforceable. Both utility as well as plant patents last for the duration of 20 years that starts from the effective date of filing of the application. However a design patent goes on for 15 years starting from the date when the patent was awarded.
The filing date is one major determinant in longevity of a patent. You must keep it in mind that you have to pay maintenance fees at the set year marks 3, 7, and 11 in order to keep your utility patent active. If you don’t pay these fees, then the 20 year duration goes null and void.
As you start looking out for a patent, the foremost step you need to take is to decide if you’d like to search for one with the help of a qualified attorney or all by yourself. Investing in someone else to do this job will cost you around a couple of thousand dollars. On the other hand, you can save the money and do it yourself simply from USPTO's website. However, it is not as plain sailing as it may seem, given that you have to go through a tutorial and guidelines which may come out to be a fussier event for you.
The foremost thing you should know here is that each country exercises its own set of criteria, requirements, as well as the patent application process. Let us understand how to get a patent on a product in the United States.
In the United States, USPTO or the United States Patent and Trademark Office issues patents. If you want to apply for a patent online then you must do it via the electronic filing system that is- EFS-Web. There are various documents that you will need to proceed with your patent application which also depends on thePatent type as well as the complexity of your product. The documents usually required for patent application in the US are for the following details-
Before you move on to filing a patent application, it is best to make sure that you have all your research performed well and all the necessary documents handy. You don’t want to juggle between here and there facing a fuss for mere negligence.
One of the most straightforward reasons for patent application rejection is in the documentation. If documentation is found to be incorrect, or is not completed, then you will get your patent application rejected.
Another reason for patent rejection comes in the face of insufficient detail. You may also come across it if your invention turns out to be too obvious. This is the stance when a good patent attorney enters the picture and helps you cut the chances of being rejected. They can also assist you in editing your application and make it align more with the requirements.
So that was your go-to guide to understanding the patent process, duration, types and patent cost in the USA. Know that this guide is to just answer basic queries that may come before you on this topic. It is advised that you seek a professional’s help in order to perform any process or search in order to avoid any trouble.