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  • Writer's pictureLexi Quayle

The Patenting Process: A Short but Sweet Guide to Protecting Your Creation

The patent system is the most effective way to protect inventions. A patent grants its owner exclusive rights on an invention for a given time. This makes it easier for businesses and inventors to know that their ideas won’t be stolen.

However, the patenting process is an arduous, time-consuming one; but, it can also be a lucrative means of ensuring that your invention remains protected. Whether you’re new to the patenting process or feel as if you’re stumbling through it blindfolded, there’s a lot you need to know.

This blog post will provide you with everything you need to know about the patenting process from conception to protection.

Let’s get started with the benefits of patenting your idea.

Benefits of Patenting Your Invention

If you’ve come up with an innovative idea and you believe it deserves protection, patenting your invention is the best way to go.

Besides having the ability to stop anyone from copying your creation, the patent system also provides a number of benefits. For example, a holder of a U.S. patent is granted rights in other countries as well.

Third, patenting can help the inventor earn a return on their investment if they choose to license the invention or if another company chooses to purchase it.

Fourth, you can use your patent to deter potential competitors from entering the market.

Fifth, you can also use your patent to benefit from tax incentives and other government programs.

Finally, patenting can help the inventor gain recognition for their innovation and establish themselves as an expert in their field.

What is Involved in the Patenting Process?

The patenting process begins with a patent application being submitted to a patent office. This application must include a thorough description of the invention, along with illustrations and other relevant information.

Once the patent application is submitted, a patent examiner carefully reviews it in order to determine if the invention meets all of the criteria for a patent. This includes novelty, utility, and non-obviousness.

If the invention does meet all of these criteria, the patent application will be approved and the inventor can then receive their patent. Patents provide an inventor with the right to prevent others from using, making, or selling their invention without permission.

The Search Process

The search process for a patent application is an important procedure to ensure that an invention is not already patented by someone else.

Depending on the complexity of the invention and the resources, the search process may be conducted by a patent professional or an automated search system.

The search process typically begins by conducting a novelty search to determine if similar patents have been filed that are similar in scope and concept to the invention. This search can be conducted using various databases, such as the USPTO, EPO, WIPO, and Google Patents. It may be beneficial to consult an expert in the field to ensure that all relevant patents are located and considered.

Following the novelty search, a validity search should be conducted to ensure that the patent-in-question is valid and is not an obvious extension of another patent. The search process should also include a prior art search, which detects any patents that may affect the novelty of the invention, such as a recently published patent or non-patent literature.

Drafting Your Patent Application

Drafting a patent application requires a high degree of technical and legal knowledge.

  • The application must comprehensively describe the invention and identify the best way to protect the new technology.

  • It should include a written description of the invention, diagrams, and claims that define the scope of the invention.

  • The application should also include a detailed summary of the invention's prior art and how the new invention differs from existing technology.

  • Additionally, the application must be written in a manner that meets the legal requirements of the agency or institution where it will be filed.

A patent attorney is best equipped to draft an application that meets all of these requirements and provides the best possible protection for the inventor.

Filing Your Patent Application

The patent process is a lengthy, but rewarding journey. You start off by drafting your ideas into a conception document. This document should include the idea, any drawings or sketches of your invention, and any other pertinent information you need to put in there.

The next step is to file a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application is filed when you’re still in the process of developing and testing your invention, but it’s not yet ready for commercial use. In the US, you file your application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the UK it is filed with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

The USPTO will send an advisory action letter if they believe that your application has merit. After this letter is received, you’ll need to pay the submission fee and wait for the USPTO to publish your application.

Protecting Your Patent

Once you have secured a patent, it becomes important to take steps to protect it from infringement.

This includes monitoring your patent and regularly reviewing the patent landscape to identify potential infringing activities. If infringement is found, the patentee should contact their patent attorney to discuss the legal options available to protect their patent.

Additionally, the patentee should consider alternative methods of protection, such as patent marking and licensing agreements, to further ensure their invention is not copied or misused.

By taking action to protect their patent, the patentee can ensure their invention is safeguarded and their rights remain intact.

FAQs on the Patenting Process

Who can apply for a patent?

​​Anyone who has invented a new process, machine, manufactured product, or composition of matter may apply for a patent. The invention must be something that is not obvious to others in the same field, and must be able to be used in some way.

An individual may apply for a patent, but working with a patent attorney can help to ensure that the application is complete and that all requirements are met.

In addition, a company may apply for a patent as well. It is important to note that a patent is a limited-time monopoly, so any legal entity or individual can apply.

What are the 3 elements of patentability?

Firstly, the invention must be novel and not known to the public or previously patented. Secondly, it must be non-obvious, meaning the invention must be an inventive step beyond the existing knowledge in the field. Lastly, the invention must be useful, meaning it must provide a specific, tangible benefit to its users.