Did you know that almost 600,000 people apply for patents every year?
If you’ve got a great idea for a new product, why not consider applying for a patent yourself?
The patent process may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s probably easier than you think.
Don’t leave your invention on the backburner. Read on for five expert tips to make the patent process a breeze.
1. Do Your Research
Before you do anything else, you first need to ensure that your invention truly is new and unique.
Start your research with an online prior art search tool. This will alert you to any earlier, pending, rejected, or abandoned patents that are similar to your idea.
Why is this important? To receive legal protection for your patent, you must be able to demonstrate that your idea is not already known.
It may be that certain parts of your invention are already patented. In that case, you can only patent the completely novel aspects of your product.
2. Consider Legal Aid
Because the patenting process can be tricky, many inventors seek the counsel of a lawyer. A patent attorney can help you through the process and save you time and money in the long run.
Of course, you may not need a lawyer at all. As long as you’re willing to do the research and paperwork and cover the associated costs, you may be able to get your patent on your own.
3. Document Everything
To prove your idea is truly yours (and truly unique), you’ll need to show every step of your creative process.
Diagram every aspect of your invention, including any modifications along the way. Describe your thought process, including how you came up with the idea and how it will be used.
If possible, you may want to build a prototype of the invention before you begin the patent process. That way you can ensure your theories are sound before you invest your time and money.
4. Analyze Commercial Potential
Just because you have an awesome new idea doesn’t mean there’s a market for it.
Even if you do all your own preparations and filing, you’ll still spend thousands of dollars bringing your invention to life. The costs may not be worth it if you don’t have anyone to sell to.
Make sure there will be interest in your product by doing plenty of market research beforehand. This will give you the best possible chance of finding buyers once your product is patented.
5. Prepare Your Application
Most applicants begin with a provisional patent application or PPA. This is not the actual application, but it lets you claim a “patent pending” status for your idea.
Once your PPA is approved, you’ve got one year to file a regular patent application (RPA). This begins the process of getting your idea in front of the right people at the USPTO.
Final Thoughts on the Patent Process
With the right know-how, the patent process isn’t insurmountable.
When you’re ready to bring your idea to life, keep the above tips in mind. You’ll soon be on your way to becoming a patent-holding inventor!
Now that you know how to get a patent, you likely have other considerations–like legal help with your business plan.
Click here for our recent post on choosing the right lawyer for your startup.