Have you invented something awesome, but you don’t know what to do to protect your ideas? While ideas themselves don’t fall under copyright and patent laws, the things that you make that stem from those ideas can be protected. If you have a new or useful process or machine, or if you’ve created a new plant or design for a product, then you’re in luck — you can get that object patented.
The trick, however, is familiarizing yourself with the patent process steps, so you know exactly what kind of intellectual property protection you’re getting. What are the most important patent process steps? Don’t forget these three tips for when you go to file a patent.
- Hiring a Patent Attorney: One of the first things you might need is a dedicated patent lawyer, who will help you with the process. Intellectual property lawyers can explain the process to you and explain the ins and outs of patent law. Working with an intellectual property rights lawyer not only helps to protect you from infringement now, but it can also help you establish some ways to protect intellectual property in the future, too.
- Going Through the Patent Filing Process: From there, your attorney should help you fill out your application for your patent. These applications are lengthy, and you will likely need to provide schematics or diagrams, depending on what you’ve invented. Your lawyer should be familiar with your particular type of intellectual property, so he or she can best advice you on the process. For instance, if you’re inventing children’s toys, then you’d want to work with an attorney who would have some understanding of these products.
- Waiting: Before your patent is granted through the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or through another agency, you will need to wait for quite a while. Patent approval can take a year or more, depending upon the type of intellectual property being patented. Your lawyer should let you know the status of your application whenever possible and keep you informed when it has been accepted. After that, you should receive information on the maintenance fees or other charges you may have to pay to the USPTO.
The patent process steps can take a long time to complete, but working with an attorney may make things easier for you. If you have questions about patenting your work through the USPTO or an international office, make sure you speak to a lawyer. Patents work differently for everyone, so it’s important to get personalized advice from an attorney on the matter.