When you have an idea that you want to turn into a patent, there are many hurdles to overcome in the process. But what ends up giving most people trouble is a lack of understanding of the process itself. Here is what each inventor should know about patent law.
Don’t Wait to File for Your Patent
Inventors often choose to wait to file their patent applications for various reasons. It may be that they lack the finances needed or it could be as simple as not understanding the law and its protections. But no matter what the reason, it is important to understand that since the U.S. is a “first to file” country, meaning you are only entitled to the application is actually filed-not the date you have the idea, waiting to file a patent runs its own set of risks.
Watch What You Say
Sometimes inventors may choose to represent themselves. Unfortunately, many do not understand that anything that they say during the prosecution of a pending patent application can be used later in litigation to narrow the scope of the patent.
Consider a Provisional Patent
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gives inventors the option to file an application for a provisional patent. One of the biggest issues with filing for a full patent (known as a non-provisional application) is that the inventor lacks the financial backing needed. Provisional patents offer a lower-cost option to apply for a patent and to secure a date of application.
An applicant has 12 months from the filing of the provisional patent to file a non-provisional patent in order to rely on the earlier, provisional application filing date. The actual patent term of 20 years begins when someone files a non-provisional patent application.
4. Don’t Forget a Drawing
Under U.S. patent law, each patent applicant must include at least one patent drawing of the invention whenever such a patent illustration is possible. This is meant to explain the invention. Since nearly everything can be drawn in some way, applicants can think of the inclusion of a drawing as a requirement.
In today’s commercial landscape it is important to understand that sometimes waiting to file a patent can prove quite detrimental. For this reason, it is generally important to file early on – at least through a provisional patent application.
Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser Can Help Protect Your Inventions and Your Rights
If you or a loved one has an issue with product or procedure that you wish to have protected, or if you have an existing patent that you believe is being infringed upon, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced patent attorney in order to determine your best options.
At Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser, our qualified patent attorneys can help you to navigate the patent application process or can help to defend your patent and your rights regarding any infringement. To learn more about the patent prosecution process or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!
Posted in: Patents