Patent Filing Process in the U.S.

New ideas are created every day and people always think that the first step is to get governmental protection. In reality, filing for a patent is very expensive and should never be the primary concern for someone that has birthed a new concept. First and foremost, an inventive product of process needs to be proven as offering a significant business opportunity to the originator. Whether the individual is considering putting forth their own efforts of commercial production or would rather license out their property for the use of others, the improved functionality and usability that the new discovery will offer needs to be clear cut. Once this is confirmed, the process to file for a patent can ensue.

Intellectual property is only continuing to build importance in the world of commerce. Small companies and large corporations have been actively protecting their proprietary products and processes for decades. This stretches from submitting applications for new creations to seeking support from the enforcement powers of the judicial system. Thus, before figuring out how to file for a patent, one must search through the national database to make sure there are no competitive filings that would severely decrease their probability of approval. This is extremely important and it is always advised that an inventor in this situation consult a patent lawyer for approaching this part of the process.

When it has been determined that a patent filing is in order, an inventor needs to clearly delineate its specifications. This is where they define each of its unique features. Thus, they will need to acknowledge any and all pieces of “prior art”—existing properties that compete with their novel concept. In defining the differentiation of their new invention, drawings will need to be accompanied by specific written notations that clearly lay out the claims of how their creation is different. This process should also be completed with the assistance of a patent attorney in order to ensure it is done so correctly.

It can take around a year for a filed patent to be processed by the government. Even though the United States now follows a first-to-file system, this long waiting period may commence with a denial. In the event of disapproval, there is a process of appeal that an inventor can undertake.