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  • Lexi 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.

Achieving all three of these elements is essential to securing a patent and protecting an invention.


What are the types of patents?

There are three main types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Each type of patent comes with its own requirements and specific filing information, so it is important to understand the differences between them.


Utility patents are the most commonly sought after, and protect the functionality and usefulness of an invention. Design patents protect the aesthetic and ornamental design of an object, such as the unique shape of a bottle. Plant patents protect new varieties of plants that have been created through asexual reproduction.

How long does a patent last?

A patent typically lasts for 20 years from the date of filing, with the possibility of certain extensions depending on the patent type. After the 20-year period has elapsed, the patent then enters the public domain, meaning that anyone can use, manufacture or sell the invention.


It is important to note that, even after the patent expires, the inventor may still have legal rights to the invention, such as copyright or trademark protections. Furthermore, in the United States, patent owners are eligible to receive maintenance fees which can extend the duration of the patent.


How long is the patent application process?

The patent application process can be a lengthy one. Generally, it can range from one to two years for the entire process.


The first step is to determine the patentability of an invention. After this has been determined, the applicant must prepare, file, and prosecute a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After the patent application has been filed, the USPTO will review the application and may issue a patent if the invention is found to be novel and non-obvious. If the USPTO rejects the patent application, the applicant may appeal the decision or revise the claims.


The duration of the application process may be extended due to any number of factors, such as delays in filing paperwork or responding to office actions from the USPTO.


Why is Coca Cola not patented?

Coca Cola is one of the most iconic brands in the world. However, the recipe for this famous beverage is not patented. This is due to the fact that the recipe is considered to be a trade secret. By keeping the recipe a secret, Coca Cola is able to maintain a competitive edge in the market.


Furthermore, patents require the details of the product or process to be made public. This could make it easier for competitors to replicate the product.


Also, in order for a patent to be valid, the product or process needs to be novel and non-obvious. Since Coca Cola is such a recognizable product, it would not be eligible for a patent.


Therefore, protecting the recipe as a trade secret is the best

Summary

The patenting process starts when an inventor comes up with an idea for a new product, process, or concept. The inventor then takes the idea to their attorney, who will guide them through the process of patenting.


If all goes well, you'll receive your first U.S. Patent in 12 - 24 months time and your rights are guaranteed for about 20 years. To protect these rights during this time period, you can apply for an extension by submitting a timely filed claim form.


However, there are many steps (already discussed in this post) that come before this point which make up most of the process and should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not this is worth pursuing as an option for securing your ideas from theft.


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