What is an Abandoned Patent?

What is an Abandoned Patent?

An abandoned patent is one where the patent application is no longer pending because the applicant has either failed to reply to a USPTO office action or the applicant has expressly abandoned the patent application. Typically, before the USPTO grants a patent application, the patent examiner issues a number of office actions that require the applicant to make changes/amendments to the patent application. If the applicant fails to respond to the office action within the allotted time period, the patent application is deemed to have been abandoned.

The second method in which a patent becomes abandoned is if the applicant, for any reason, decides that he does not want to pay the issuance fee for the patent. If the applicant does not pay the issuance fee, he will be left with an abandoned patent that has never been granted by the USPTO. Oftentimes applicants believe that it is no longer worth their time and money to pursue the patent, so they decide not to pay the issuance fee, at which point, the patent application is deemed to have been abandoned without ever being issued or granted.

The third situation where an inventor can be left with an abandoned patent is that if the USPTO issues or grants the patent, a patent holder can abandon the patent by failing to make the required monthly maintenance fees on the patent. Maintenance fees are periodic fees that must be paid by a patent holder to keep his patent in the grant state. Maintenance fees are expensive, so oftentimes, inventors who believe that their invention is no longer profitable, choose not to pay the maintenance fees. In such a case, the patent becomes abandoned and the patent holder loses the right to enforce his rights under the patent.

Can an Applicant Revive an Abandoned Patent?

An inventor can revive an abandoned patent application, however, to revive a patent application, the applicant must make a declaration that the entire delay was unintentional. For example, if you know that your patent application was abandoned and you wait for a long period of time before filing a petition to revive the patent application, an issue will arise as to whether the day was intentional or unintentional. To revive the patent application, you will have to prove that the entire delay was unintentional. Applicants are usually alerted as to the abandonment of their patent application because the USPTO sends out a notice of abandonment to the person applying for a patent. To revive a patent application, the applicant will have to argue that he never received the notice of abandonment to show that the delay was unintentional. The issue date of the notice of abandonment is important because the notice starts the clock on how promptly the applicant files a petition to revive an abandoned patent application. If you intentionally abandoned your patent application, you will not be able to revive your patent application. So, if you’re seeking to revive your patent application, you should have a reason as to why you unintentionally abandoned your patent application.

How Does an Applicant Revive an Abandoned Patent?

An applicant can revive his patent application by electronically filing a petition to revive his patent application with the USPTO. To file a petition to revive a patent application, the applicant must pay the petition fee and file a response to the last office action. Along with filing the petition and paying the required fee, the applicant must submit a declaration, declaring that the entire delay in filing the required reply to the USPTO office action from the due date of the response was unintentional. If the USPTO is satisfied with the reason for the delay, your patent application will be revived.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What does it mean when a patent is abandoned?

A patent application can be intentionally or unintentionally abandoned. Unintentional abandonment occurs when a person unintentionally fails to reply to an office action. Intentional abandonment occurs when an applicant intentionally fails to reply to an office action or expressly requests the abandonment of his patent application. Abandonment means that the patent application is no longer pending at the USPTO and will not become a granted patent.

2) Can I use an abandoned patent?

No, you cannot use an abandoned patent application because the applicant has an opportunity to revive the patent application and reply to the office action if the delay was unintentionally caused.

3) How do I revive an abandoned patent?

An applicant can revive his patent application by electronically filing a petition to revive the abandoned patent application with the USPTO, paying the applicable fees, responding to the office action, and submitting a declaration stating that the delay was unintentionally caused.

4) How can you tell if a patent has been abandoned?

You can tell if a patent has been abandoned by checking the USPTO’s Patent Application Retrieval System and searching for the patent application you want to inquire about.

5) How long does a patent last?

In the United States, utility patents last for 20 years from the date an inventor files his patent application with the USPTO. On the other hand, design patents last for 15 years from the date the USPTO grants a design patent application.

What Are Abandoned Patents?

At this point, you probably know that an abandoned patent is one where the applicant has either intentionally abandoned the patent application by failing to reply to an office action or by filing an express statement to abandone his patent application. Also, a patent can be abandoned by an applicant failing to pay the issuance fee before the patent is granted. After the patent is granted, a person can abandoned his patent by failing to pay the utility patent’s maintenance fees. A person who abandons his patent may be able to revive it by filing a petition to revive his patent. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


How to Apply for a Patent?

How to Apply for a Patent?

If you’re an inventor who has created a new invention, you might be wondering how you can protect your invention from being copied and used by others. Fortunately, U.S Patent Law allows inventors to stop others from using, making, and selling your patented invention for a limited period of time. So, how can you apply for a patent? We will discuss the exact steps that you need to take to protect your invention with a patent.

Choosing the Correct Form of Intellectual Property Protection

The first thing that an inventor must do to apply for a patent is to determine the correct form of intellectual property protect he needs. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers three forms of IP protection: Trademark, Copyright, and Patent Protection. So, before you invest the time and money into preparing a patent application, please make sure that patent protection is the correct form of IP protection that you need.

Patents protect new and unique inventions and designs. There are two main types of patents that you can apply for and they are utility patents and design patents. Utility patents protect how an invention works and design patents protect how an invention looks.

For example, if you have invented a new potato peeler that can peel a potato by pressing a button, your invention may qualify for a utility patent, which protects how an invention works. Also, if you have made an invention or product that has a unique look, you may protect your product by applying for a design patent, which protects how your invention or product looks.

So, if either a utility patent or design patent is appropriate for the item that you want to protect with a patent, you should proceed with the following steps that set forth the details for how to apply for a patent.

Ask Yourself: Does Your Invention Qualify for a Patent?

Before applying for a patent, you must ensure that the invention or product that you have qualifies for a patent. Utility patents can be used to protect new processes, machines, and articles of manufacture. So, if you have a process for creating something, you may be able to patent it by applying for a patent. Also, if you have a machine that works differently from any other machine, you may be able to protect how your invention works by preparing and filing a patent application with the USPTO.

Conduct a Search to Determine Whether Your Invention Has Already Been Patented or Publicly Disclosed

Before applying for a patent, every inventor should conduct a prior art search to determine whether anyone else has publicly disclosed or patented the invention that the inventor wants to patent.

This is so because the USPTO only allows inventors to patent inventions that are novel, meaning that no one else has ever patented or publicly disclosed the invention an inventor is seeking to patent.

If anyone else has patented the invention you want to patent in the US or elsewhere around the world, you cannot patent the same invention. Conducting a prior art search is a difficult task that should only be performed by an experienced patent attorney.

Prior art searches are time intensive and having a patent attorney or patent agent, who knows where to look for inventions that are similar to yours will ensure that the search is properly performed.

If you do not have the money to hire an attorney to perform a prior art search, you should search for patent attorneys who perform pro bono work and ask them to assist you with conducting the search.

Keep Your Invention a Secret

When applying for a patent, it is of the utmost of importance to keep your invention a secret. We tell inventors to keep their invention a secret because the US requires inventors to file a patent application within twelve months of publicly disclosing their invention. If you wait more than twelve months to file a patent application, your application will be rejected and your invention deemed to unpatentable because it is now within the public domain.

So, if you want to patent your invention, the best thing you can do is to keep your invention a secret until the USPTO grants your patent application. Also, even though the US affords inventors a twelve-month grace period within which to file a patent application after disclosing your invention to the public, not all countries are this lenient. Foreign countries often require absolute novelty, meaning the invention has never been publicly disclosed. So, keep your invention a secret, especially if you want to patent it countries outside the United States.

Preparing Your Patent Application

After choosing the correct form of IP protection and conducting a prior art search, to apply for a patent, the next step is to prepare and file your patent application with the USPTO. Preparing a patent application is something requires a professional to prepare.

This is so because there are many rules and requirements that must be followed to avoid having your patent application rejected by the USPTO. Making even seemingly minor mistakes can get your application rejected, requiring more time and money to fix.

Also, the quality of your application determines the strength of the patent you’re applying for. So, invest the money in hiring an experienced patent attorney or patent agent so that they will prepare the best possible patent application, which will prevent you from having to make costly changes down the road.

Often, when applying for a patent, inventors choose to file a provisional patent application instead of filing a regular non-provisional patent application. A nonprovisional patent application is a less complex patent application that allows inventor to reserve a priority date.

Reserving an early priority date is extremely important in the United States because the U.S has a first to file rule, which grants a patent to the inventor who first file a patent application for the same invention.

For example, if you invent an invention first and person B invents the same invention two years later, but files either a provisional or nonprovisional patent application before you do, person B will be awarded the patent and you will be prohibited from patenting the same invention.

Regardless of whether you choose to prepare a provisional or nonprovisional patent application, the next step in applying for a patent is to file your patent application with the USPTO.

Track the Status of Your Patent Application

After filing your patent application with the USPTO, you should track the status of your application to ensure that you don’t miss any notifications from the patent office.

Oftentimes, the patent office will request additional information or require you to make changes to your application. You should always check the status of your application because such notices are time sensitive, meaning you must reply within a certain timeframe to avoid having your application rejected for failure to reply within a timely manner.

So, check the status of your application and work with your patent examiner and correct any deficiencies in your patent application within the specified time period.

How Long Does It Take to Apply for a Patent?

When applying for a patent, you should keep in mind that it takes a long time for you to get your invention or product patent. From the moment applies for a patent by filing a nonprovisional regular patent application, it takes approximately 24 months for the USPTO to either approve or deny an inventor’s patent application.

The amount of time it takes the USPTO to approve or deny a patent application depends on the complexity of the invention you’re seeking to patent, as well as the number of pending patent applications at the USPTO. If you want to patent your invention more quickly, you do have the option of expediting your utility patent application, as well as your design patent application.

However, expediting your patent is not cheap, but your application will skip the long line of pending patent applications. Fore more information on how long it will take to get your patent application approved, check out the USPTO Patent Data Center.

Should You Hire an Attorney to Apply for a Patent?

Although you are entirely free to prepare your own patent application and apply for a patent on your own, the USPTO does recommend that applicants hire an experience patent attorney to assist them with applying for a patent.

The USPTO makes this recommendation because there are a lot of rules that an inventor must comply with so that his patent application is not rejected for not following the rules. Also, the strength of your patent application determines the strength of your patent, so although you may be able to follow the many rules set forth by the USPTO, this does not guarantee that your patent application will adequately protect your invention.

So, hiring an experienced patent attorney or patent agent is of the utmost importance to guarantee that you properly patent your invention. If you do not have the money to hire a patent attorney, you should consider hiring a patent agent to assist you with patenting your invention. Patent agents are just as qualified as patent attorneys to assist inventor with applying for a patent.

Receiving an Approval After Applying for a Patent

After applying for a patent, if the patent examiner determines that your invention qualifies for a patent, he will go ahead and approve your patent application. Once your patent is approved, inventors receive a notice of allowance. Prior to the patent office issuing a patent, the inventor must pay the issue fee. Once the issue fee is paid, the patent will be issued (granted). Utility patents and design patents are typically issued within four weeks of the issuance fee being paid.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How long does it take to get a patent after you apply for one?

After applying for a patent, you should expect to wait approximately 24 months to obtain a patent over your invention. You should keep in mind that the USPTO may deny your patent application if your invention does not meet the patenting requirements.

2) Can you apply for a patent without an attorney?

Yes, although it is not recommended, you can apply for a patent without an attorney.

3) What’s the best time to apply for a patent?

If you have an invention that’s new and meets the patenting requirements, you should apply for a patent as soon as you can describe how your invention works.

4) Does applying for a patent protect you outside the US?

No, if you apply for and obtain a patent in the United States, your patent will not protect you outside the US. For example, if you obtain a patent in the US over a new pair of scissors, and someone makes and sells the same scissors in China, you will not be able to assert your rights under the patent in China because you’re patent only protects you in the U.S.

How to Apply for a Patent in the US

Applying for a patent in the US typically begins with an inventor creating a new invention or product. The second step is to check whether someone has already publicly disclosed the invention that the inventor wants to patent. If no one else has patented nor publicly disclosed a similar invention, the inventor can proceed to preparing and filing his patent application. After applying for a patent, the inventor should periodically check the status of his application and reply to any of the USPTO’s request for changes and amendments to the patent application. Ultimately, if the invention qualifies for a patent, the patent examiner will approve the applicant’s patent application. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Who Owns the Patent the Company or the Employee?

Who Owns the Patent the Company or Employee?

When an inventor makes something or invents something new, there may be some confusion as to who owns the invention, the company or the employee working at the company? We will answer this question in much detail below.

Who Owns the Patent the Company or Employee?

Generally, when a company hires an employee to make something and the employee invents something new, the invention is owned by the company because they paid you to invent the item for them. For example, if you were hired to work on a new component for an engine and you come up with a new component, the component is owned by your employer and not you even though you invented it.

Additionally, when employees begin new employment, their employer may have them enter into an agreement known as a pre-invention assignment agreement whereby the employee assigns (transfers) any interest he has in any inventions that he makes to his employer. Such a contract is normally entered into by employees at the outset of the employer/employee relationship.

That said, the water become murky when an employee invents something that he works on in his spare time and not while he is at work. States treat the questions of whether an employee or company owns the rights to inventions made while the employee is working on his own time and not while he is at work. If you invented something on your own time and want to determine whether you or the company owns the patent, you should contact a licensed patent attorney in your jurisdiction to answer this question for you. This is so because states have different intellectual property laws governing the answer to this question.

That said, most states in this situation, including California, will grant the rights to the invention to the employee so long as the employee did not use any of his employer’s resources. For example, if the employee created the invention on his own time, using his own materials and resources, the rights to the invention will likely be awarded to the employee. However, if your invention includes idea or knowledge that’s used by during the course of your employment, some questions will be asked as to whether you used knowledge or resources from your employer to create the invention.

What is a Patent?

For those who do not know what a patent is? A patent is an intellectual property right that is granted to an inventor who successfully patents his invention at the USPTO. Upon patenting an invention, an inventor can stop others from using, making, selling, and importing the patent invention to the United States for 20 years from the date an inventor files his patent application. This is what makes patents so desirable.

Imagine you invent something new that could make millions of dollars. Of course, you and your employer will want the rights to the invention. That’s why the question of whether an employee or employer owns the rights to the invention.

As previously mentioned, usually, inventions that are made by an employee while he is working for his employer are owned by the employer.

However, inventions made by a person in his spare time may be owned by the employee depending on which state the employee was working in at the time he created the invention. Most states will award the rights to an invention to the employee only if he worked on the invention outside of work and did not use any of his employer’s resources or facilities.

What is a Pre-Assignment Agreement?

A pre-assignment agreement is an agreement that an employer usually requires an employee to sign. Pre-assignment agreements can vary greatly. For example, some pre-assignment agreements require employees to transfer all rights to inventions that they make during the term of their employment, and this includes inventions that an employee makes on his own time. Other pre-assignment agreements only require employees to transfer rights of inventions they create while they are on the job (at work). That said, no two pre-assignment agreements are the same. To know who owns the invention, you must consult the terms of your pre-assignment agreement. If you cannot understand it yourself, you should hire an attorney to assist you with understanding your agreement.

What is Work for Hire?

Work for hire doctrine basically states that a person who creates a work or invention that he was hired to create is not the owner of the work or invention. Rather, the person who hired the inventor to create the invention is the owner of such work. This doctrine is used throughout copyright law, as well as patent law. For example, if a pharmaceutical company hires you to create a new vaccine, under the work-for-hire doctrine, if you invent a new vaccination, your invention (vaccine) is owned by the party that hired you to create the invention absent an agreement that states otherwise.

The California Exception

California law is employee friendly. In California, even if an employee has signed an assignment agreement that assigns all inventions he makes to his employer, the law makes an exception for employees who create something outside of work using their own facilities, supplies, and equipment. For example, if you’re working for a pharmaceutical company to develop and vaccine and on your own time you invent a potato peeler using your own resources and facilities, your employer does not own the invention, you, the employee owns it.

How to Avoid Employer / Employee Disputes Over Who Own an Invention?

To avoid employer / employee disputes over who owns an invention, both the employer and the employee should enter into a written agreement that clearly states under what conditions and employer owns an invention and under what conditions an employee owns an invention. Also, if inventing or creating new things is part of the job, both parties should discuss the pre-employment assignment agreement so that both parties are informed as what to expect at the outset of the relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Who is the owner of a patent?

Generally, an inventor who makes an invention is an owner of that invention. However, if an employee is hired to create an invention or he signs an assignment agreement that transfers his interest to his employer, the employer will own the invention. Also, please note that laws are different depending on the state you are in. To know whether the company or employee owns an invention, you should consult with an licensed patent attorney.

2) Who owns the intellectual property, the employer or the employee?

Generally, an employee who makes something that he was hired to create or invents something during the course of his employment, an employer will own an invention. However State laws differ as to the answer of this question.

3) Who owns the work if you create something for the company?

The answer to this question can be found by reading the answers given above.

4) Should i assign my patent to my company?

If you want to work for a company, you may be required to sign a pre-assignment agreement. If you do not to sign such an agreement, you can refuse to work with the company. If you sign this agreement, anything you create while you are at work will be owned by your employer or company.

5) Does my employer own my invention or patent?

See the explanation given above, it will answer this question for you.

Who Owns the Patent the Employee or the Company?

Every situation is different, however, when an employee creates an invention while he is at work, his employer owns the invention. However, where the employee creates the invention while he is at home, the invention is usually owned by the employee. That said, state laws vary from state to state, so to know whether you own the invention or the company you work owns the invention, you should contact an experienced patent attorney in your jurisdiction to answer this question for you.


selling-your-patent-how-to

Selling Your Patent

If you're like most inventors out there, you've probably spent a ton of money, times, and hard work to make your invention, and even more time and money to patent it. So, how do you profit from your invention? The primary way inventors and you can profit from your patented invention is to sell your patent. Selling a patent is not an easy task, so we will explain the steps you can take for selling your patent, as well as places where you can find others who are interested in the patent you're selling.

Selling Your Patent

If you have spent a ton of money and time creating your invention and patenting it, you might be wondering how you can profit from your invention. One way that inventors seek to profit from their patent is by selling them. Even if an inventor chooses not to sell his patent, he can profit from licensing the use of his patent to a third party.

If an inventor licenses his patent to a third party, the third-party will manufacture and sell the patented invention and will pay the inventor an agreed-upon fee or royalty for each item it sells. The third option an inventor has is to manufacture the patented invention on his own and proceed to market it and sell it to the public.

However, if an inventor wants a lump sum amount, he can proceed to sell his patent to another party in exchange for a one time fee. That said, if an inventor sells his patent, he will lose all rights that he has to his patented invention, meaning that he will no longer be able to use, make, sell, or import the patented invention to the United States without the new patent owner's permission. Selling your patent may be the right thing to do because having a patent on an invention does not earn the inventor any money.

For the inventor to make money, he must either license his patent, sell the patent, or manufacture the patented invention and sell it on his own. Manufacturing, marketing, and selling a patented invention is a difficult and costly process, as such, many inventors opt to sell the patent outright in exchange for a one time fee. Having a patent on an invention without more does not generate any money for inventors who have spent a ton of time and money making their invention and patenting it.

So, selling your patent in exchange for a one time fee may be a good idea for you because it guarantees that you receive some sort of financial reward for investing your hard work and a ton of money patenting your invention. Many inventors selling their patents outright, and take their earnings and use them to finance new inventions.

That said, if you're not in need of immediate cash, it may be worthwhile to search for and find a party that you can license the use of your patent to. Licensing the use of a patent is a great option for those who want to keep the ownership of their patent while still earning some money from their patented invention.

There is no worse feeling for an inventor when he finds out that he sold his patent for a small amount, such as $15,000, and later finds out that the party that purchased his patent is raking in millions of dollars of profits from the inventor's patents. So, if you do not want to miss out on the potential profits of your invention, ask an experienced patent attorney about licensing your patent instead of selling it.

How Do You Sell a Patent?

Find a buying who is interested in buying your patent is the most difficult and time-consuming part of selling your patent.

You can sell your patent by following these step:

  1. Brochure - Prepare a document or brochure that explains and shows what your invention is and how it works. Explain the benefits of using your invention over other similar products that are already on the market. Including images of a prototype that you have or markups of the product is helpful to entice the interest of parties that may be interested in your patented product.
  2. Attend Trade Shows - The best place to showcase and meet people who may be interested in buying your patent is to attend tradeshows that are relevant to the field of your invention. For example, if you have developed a new modem for transferring data for mobile phones, attending a trade show for mobile phones may be the best place for you to showcase your invention. People and companies, big and small, attend these shows from all over the world, so, attending a tradeshow to show off your patented invention may be the best way to find a potential buyer of your patent.
  3. Advertising - There are a ton of websites on the internet that will allow you to list your invention for sale, take advantage of them and list your invention on them. A simple Google search will reveal a ton of platforms that will allow you to list your invention for sale. Some will list your invention in exchange for a free, and others will allow you to list your invention for free. Also, you can take the old school method and look for publications that write about the product you've patented, and ask them to add your product to their magazine or publication. If an interested buyer of your patent sees your product, he may be inclined to contact you and inquire about purchasing the rights to your product.
  4. Patent Rebel - If you have an invention that you've patented and you want to advertise a patent that you would like to sell, feel free to contact us and inquire about advertising your patent on our website. We have inventors from all around the world, who visit our site on a daily basis, so there is a good chance that someone may be interested in the invention that you want to sell.
  5. Venture Capital - If you have an invention that you've already patented, you should try to solicit capital to bring your patented product or invention to market. Patent holders often do this by approaching venture capital firms or by going to friends and family for money to bring their invention to market.
  6. Patent Broker - You can sell your patent by hiring a broker to facilitate the sale of your patent. Brokers will approach buyers who may be interested in purchasing your patented invention. If a buyer agrees to purchase your invention, the broker typically receives a fixed fee that was previously agreed upon, a percentage of the sale, or royalties from the sale of the invention. If you choose to hire a broker, please be aware that many patent brokers, overpromise and provide you with nothing in return. So, be cautious who you hire to broker the sale of your patent, and do not pay anything upfront.

How Much Can You Sell Your Patent For?

How much you can sell a patent for depends on the invention described in your patent application. If the invention solves a problem that no other invention has solved in the past, you're likely to make a ton of money on your invention. The same applies if you patented an improvement of an invention that makes an existing invention much better.

The amount of money you can earn from selling a patent also depends on the complexity of your invention, the more complex an invention, the more you will probably be able to earn from selling it. Also, how much you can sell your patent for depends on how well your patent protects the underlying invention. Broader patents that describe an underlying invention well will usually sell for a higher price than patent applications that did a bad job of describing the invention to be patented.

Now, if you have a patented product or invention that is already for sale, you might be able to sell your patent at a higher price if your product sells well in stores. This is because your product has a proven track record of earning profits because of its popularity with consumers. If you have a product that sells well in stores, expect to sell your patent at a much higher price than a product that has been patented but has no history of sales.

Ultimately, the amount of money that you can get for selling your patent depends on the quality of the invention described in your patent application, as well as whether you have a product that's already on the market with a successful track record. For more information about "how much can I sell my patent for," contact a patent attorney or patent agent to assist you with evaluating the value of your patented invention or product.

Alternatives to Selling Your Patent

As mentioned previously, if you do not wish to sell your patent or completely give up the rights to your invention, you have an alternative to selling your patent. This alternative is licensing the use of your patented invention or product to a third party in exchange for an agreed-upon fee or royalty. Licensing an invention vs selling it allows an inventor to retain ownership rights to his invention while still earning a profit from his patented product. That said, you should hire an experienced patent attorney to assist you with drafting a patent license agreement so that you and the party that you're entering into an agreement with fully understand the obligations under the agreement. In the event that there is a falling out, you can protect your rights under the agreement by bringing a lawsuit in court for breach of contract.

Where Can I Sell My Patent?

As we previously mentioned, you can sell your patent by posting your patent on online marketplaces for patents. You can also search for companies that sell products similar to the one you've patented, or you can look for companies that might be interested in using your patented invention in their own product. The options are limitless, but your success is determined by how much work you're willing to put into finding a store or company that's interested in your patent. Your job becomes significantly easier if your invention solves a problem that no other invention has been able to solve.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Can I sell my patent?

Yes, if you have a patent, you can sell the rights to your invention by executing an assignment agreement. An assignment agreement is basically a contract where the assignor can transfer any rights he has in a patented invention to a third party. Assignment agreements are permanent and cannot be undone. Once a patent holder assigns his rights to a third party, he can no longer use, make, sell, or import the patented invention.

2) What is my patent worth?

The worth of your patent depends on the quality of the invention, whether the patent solves a common problem that no other invention solves and the strength of your patent application. For more information on the worth of patents, check out the section titled "how much can I sell my patent for" above.

3) Should I patent my idea before selling it?

If you have an invention and you are sure that you can profit from it, it makes good sense to patent it because, without a patent, someone else can steal your idea, patent it, and keep you from using the invention or profiting from it. However, keep in mind that patenting an invention is a costly and time-consuming process, so only patent an invention if you know that you can profit from it.

4) Are patents worth it?

Patents are an extremely powerful form of intellectual property (IP) protection. So, if you or your company has a valuable invention, you should patent it to keep others from using or selling your invention without your express permission.

5) Can you sell an idea for an invention without a patent?

You can sell an idea for an invention without a patent, however, keep in mind that if you tell your idea or show your invention to a third party without having a patent over your invention, you risk them stealing your idea, using it without your permission, and potentially them patenting it on their own. You can ask them to sign an NDA and an agreement where the other party agrees not to use, make, or sell your invention, however, most parties will refuse to sign such an agreement.


Patent Certificate (All You Need to Know)

Patent Certificate

If you have been granted a patent, you might be wondering what is a patent certificate, as well as when you will get your patent certificate. We will explain in much detail below what a patent certificate is and how long it will take to get one, and how to get a patent certificate if your patent application has been approved by the USPTO.

What is a Patent Certificate?

A patent certificate is a certified certificate that presents a copy of an approved patent application as granted by the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The main benefit of having a patent certificate is that it serves as proof that you have successful patented your application, and can therefore stop others from using, making, selling, and importing the patented invention to the United States for a limited period of time. For utility patents, an inventor can stop others from using or making his invention for twenty years from the filing date of a patent application. For design patents, an inventor can stop others from using or making his patented design for 15 years from the grant date of the patent application.

How to Order a Certified Copy of Your Patent Certificate?

Follow the following steps to order a certified copy of your patent certificate:

  1. Create an account or log in to an existing account on USPTO.gov
  2. Access your PAIR account to order a certified copy of your patent certificate
  3. Click on Order Patent Certificate
  4. Pay the $25 USPTO fee to obtain a copy of your patent certificate
  5. Wait for the certificate to arrive (Patent certificates ship via standard USPS mail)

Where is my Patent Certificate?

Inventors often ask use where is my patent certificate? The answer to this question depends on whether an inventor filed his own patent application or hired an attorney to assist him with patent his invention. Usually, patent certificates are mailed to the attorney designed as the attorney of record, meaning that the certificate is mailed to your attorney, and ideally your attorney should forward the certificate to you. If you prepared and filed your own patent application, the patent certificate should be mailed to the IP owner listed on the patent application. Also, if you work for a company and have assigned the invention to your company or employer, the patent certificate will be sent to the assignee on record with the USPTO.

How Do Inventors Patent Their Inventions?

Inventors patent their inventions by preparing and file either a utility patent application or a design patent application with the USPTO. After an inventor files his patent application, a patent examiner is assigned to examine whether the invention qualifies for either a utility patent or a design patent. If the patent application is complete and has no errors, the examiner will proceed to grant or approve the patent application.

However, if the patent application is missing some information or the invention described does not qualify for a patent, the examiner will reject the patent application, offering an inventor the opportunity to remedy any issues with the application. This process occurs until the patent examiner decides that the patent requirements are met. At this point, he will grant the patent application. Once your patent application is granted by the USPTO, you will need to pay a fee to the USPTO knows as an issuance fee.

Once the issuance fee is paid, your patent certificate will be mailed to you on the issuance date of the patent. In the event that you hired a patent attorney or a patent agent to represent you, you do not have to worry as the intellectual property (IP) owner designated on the patent application will receive the patent certificate. If for any reason, you need more copies of your patent certificate, all you need to do is order additional copies of it from the USPTO by paying a $25 for each additional certificate that you order.

Why Should You Patent Your Invention?

Inventors often patent their inventions and seek obtaining a patent certificate because it allows them to stop others from copying their invention, and selling is as their own. Once an inventor receives a patent grant, he can stop others from using, making, selling, and importing the patented invention for a limited period of time (20 years for utility patents & 15 years for design patents).

If anyone else uses, makes, sells, or imports and inventors patented invention without his express consent, the patent holder can ask the individual to immediately cease and desist the infringing activities. If the other party does not stop and continues to use, make, or sell the patent holder’s invention, the patent holder can sue that party for patent infringement in federal court. If successful, the court will order the infringer to immediate cease the infringing use.

That said, the USPTO is not responsible from stopping others from using or selling a patent holder’s invention. The patent holder must police and ensure that no one is infringing upon or using his invention without his permission. Also, obtaining a patent certificate over an invention allows an inventor to go out, make and sell his patented invention without having to worry about others copying his invention.

Also, having a patent, makes it easier for an inventor to license the use of his patent to others, who can make and sell the patented invention in exchange for paying the patent holder an agreed-upon fee or royalty. So, patents are an important form of intellectual property protection that inventors want and should obtain for their inventions, especially if they want to exploit their inventions and profit from their hard work.

Patent Rebel Frequently Asked Questions

1) How do I get a patent certificate?

To get a patent certificate, an inventor must have had his patent application approved by the USPTO. Once a patent application is approved and issuance fee is paid, an inventor will then be able to get a patent certificate that serves as proof of the patent holder’s patented invention.

2) What are the three types of patents?

Inventors can obtain three types of patents at the USPTO: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Utility patents protect the functional aspects of an invention, such as how an invention works and how it is used. Design patents protect the aesthetics of an invention, such as how an invention looks or appears. Plant patents protect new, asexually reproduced plant species.

3) What is a ribbon copy of a patent?

A ribbon copy is a certified copy of a patent certificate. It is known as a ribbon copy because the USPTO ribbon and seal appear on the patent certificate, along with a signature of the individual certifying the certificate.


utility-patent

Utility Patent

Whether your an inventor seeking to patent your invention using a utility patent or you're just wondering what a utility patent is, you've come to the right place as we will discuss everything there is to know about a utility patent. So, what is a utility patent? And what is the difference between a utility patent vs a design patent? We will also discuss the cost of a utility patent, as well as give you an example of a utility patent.

What is a Utility Patent?

A utility patent is defined as a form of intellectual property (IP) protection that protects new inventions, processes, machines, compositions of matter, or articles of manufacture. Said differently, utility patents protect inventions that perform a new and useful function. Utility patents are the most applied for type of patent, making up more than 92% of all applied for patents.

Inventors want to protect their inventions using utility patents because utility patents allow them to control who uses, makes, sells, and imports their patented invention to the United States for a limited period of time. For utility patents, this limited period of time is 20 years.

While a utility patent is active and its grant state, only the patent holder can use, make, and sell the patented invention, anyone else who wants to make any use of the patented invention must first obtain the patent holder's express permission to do so.

Now that you know that a utility patent is a powerful form of IP protection, you should know that obtaining one is not easy. To obtain a utility patent, an inventor must prepare, file, and prosecute a utility patent application to obtain a patent.

Preparing a utility patent application alone is very costly and time-consuming. Even after a utility patent application has been prepared and filed with the USPTO, it takes the patent office, on average, 24 months to process and either grant or deny a patent application.

How Does a Utility Patent Work?

A utility patent works by vesting IP rights in the hand of a patent holder. Once an inventor patents his invention and becomes a patent holder, an inventor can stop others from using, making, offering to sell, selling, and importing his patented invention to the United States for a limited period of time (20 years for utility patents).

During the 20-year patent term/patent life, an inventor may become the only person to use, manufacture, and sell the patented invention. Also, a patent holder can choose to license the use and manufacturing of his patented invention to third parties in exchange for an agreed-upon fee.

How to Get a Utility Patent?

For an inventor to get or obtain a utility patent, an inventor must first conduct a prior art search to determine that no one else has patented the invention he wants to patent. A prior art search should only be conducted by an experienced individual, such as a patent attorney. This is so because a prior art search is a complicated process that requires a trained and experienced individual to properly perform a prior art search.

After conducting a prior art search, an inventor should also hire an attorney to prepare a patent application. A patent application defines the invention that an inventor wants to protect.

As such, taking the time to prepare a strong patent application is of the utmost importance because the application will determine the quality of the resulting patent.

Although the USPTO allows inventors to prepare their own patent application without hiring an attorney, they recommend that inventors hire an attorney to assist them with its preparation.

After preparing a patent application, an applicant files the application with the patent office and waits for a patent examiner to begin examining his application.

If the patent examiner finds an application to be complete, complies with the patenting requirements, and is free of errors, an application will be granted.

The moment the patent office grants a patent application, a patent holder will be able to exercise his rights under the patent. Prior to the patent office granting a patent application, an applicant will not be able to enforce patent rights because he will not have any rights to enforce until the patent office grants his application.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Utility Patent?

According to data from the USPTO, it currently takes 24 months for the patent office to process a patent application, meaning that the patent office will either grant or deny a patent application within 24 months of an inventor filing his non-provisional patent application with the USPTO.

If an inventor is in a rush to patent his invention, the patent office offers inventors the ability to expedite their patent application by using a service known as Track One. Track One promises to process a patent application within 12 months, which cuts down the processing time in half.

That said, some applicants who have used the USPTO's Track One service have reported being able to patent their invention in as little as six months. So, depending on your specific case, you may be able to patent your invention in less than 12 months.

How Long Does a Utility Patent Last?

In the United States, a utility patent lasts for 20 years from the date an inventor files a regular, nonprovisional patent application with the USPTO. Said differently, the patent term or patent life of a utility patent is 20 years measured from the date an inventor filed a utility patent application with the patent office.

That said, to keep a utility patent in its active/grant/issued state, a patent holder must pay three periodic maintenance fees throughout the life of a utility patent. These maintenance fees must be paid at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years. Failure to pay any of the maintenance fees on time will lead a utility patent to expire prematurely before the patent term has ended.

Hiring an Attorney to Obtain a Utility Patent

The USPTO does not require inventors to be represented by an attorney to patent their invention, the patent office is even required to offer assistance to inventors seeking to patent their invention. However, the patent office highly recommends that inventors hire an attorney to patent their invention.

Although hiring an attorney is not required for an inventor to patent his invention, Patent Rebel highly recommends that inventors hire an attorney to assist them with preparing and filing a patent application because US patent law is quite complex and making mistakes can cost an inventor a ton of money to fix, down the road. As such, it's a good idea to hire an attorney to avoid costly mistakes down the road.

If you're an inventor and you do not have enough money to hire an attorney, you should explore the option of hiring a patent agent. Patent agents, like patent attorneys, are qualified and licensed by the USPTO to assist inventors with patenting their invention.

Patent agents are licensed to assist inventors with conducting a prior art search, preparing their patent application, filing it with the patent office, and prosecuting it until the patent office grants the patent application.

How Much Does a Utility Patent Cost?

A utility patent for a simple and straightforward invention can cost between $5,000 and $7,000, with more complex inventions costing $15,000+ to patent. The cost really depends on a few factors, such as the complexity of your invention, the experience of your patent attorney, the help you've offered your attorney, and the geographical location of your attorney because attornies in different parts of the U.S charge different rates for assisting inventors with the patenting process.

In addition to paying an attorney's fees, an inventor should factor in the cost of fees that must be paid to the USPTO. The patent office charges the following fees:

  • Filing Fee - $150

  • Patent Search Fee - $330

  • Patent Examination Fee - $380

  • Patent Issue Fee - $500

  • Patent Maintenance Fee #1 - $800

  • Patent Maintenance Fee #2 - $1,800

  • Patent Maintenance Fee #3 - $3,700

Utility Patent vs Design Patent

What Do They Protect?

A utility patent protects the functional aspects of an invention. Said differently, it protects how an invention works or achieves its purpose and how it's used by the end-user.

Design patents, on the other hand, protect the aesthetics of an invention. Said differently, design patents protect the appearance of an invention or how an invention looks.

Design patents cannot be used to protect the functional aspects of an invention.

If an inventor wants to protect how his invention works, he should apply for a utility patent. If he wants to protect the appearance of his invention, he should apply for a design patent.

In the event that an inventor wants to protect both the appearance and function of his invention, he must apply for both a utility patent and use a separate application to apply for a design patent.

Both the design and utility cannot be patented using one application. One utility patent application should be filed, along with a design patent application because each application will protect something different.

Patent Term

A utility patent lasts for 20 years from the date an inventor files what's known as a nonprovisional utility patent application with the USPTO. A design patent, on the other hand, lasts for 15 years from the date the patent office grants a design patent application.

Choosing the Property Type of Patent

Every inventor should determine what patent he wants to use to protect his invention. If an inventor wants to protect how his invention works, he should apply for a utility patent, however, if an inventor wants to protect how his invention or product looks, he should seek a design patent. If you're unsure about the type of patent that you need for your invention, you should speak to your patent attorney to assist you with choosing the proper type of patent for your invention.

Maintenance Fees / Patent Renewal Fees

Also, it's important to note that utility patent holders must pay periodic maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years to keep a utility patent in its active/grant state. Missing one of these maintenance/renewal fees will result in the expiration of a utility patent. As such, utility patent holders should ensure that these fees are paid on time to keep a utility patent active.

Design patents, unlike utility patents, do not require a patent holder to pay periodic fees. Once an inventor obtains his patent, the patent expires upon the expiration date of the patent term. So, inventors do not need to worry about paying maintenance fees to keep a design patent in its active/grant state.

Example of Utility Patent

 Here is an example of a utility patent:

Example of a utility patent

Example of Design Patent

Here is an example of a design patent:

Utility Patent vs Provisional Patent

When applying for a utility patent, inventors have two options: (1) file a full nonprovisional utility patent application, or (2) file a provisional patent application first to obtain an early filing date and later file a utility patent application.

Inventors often opt to file a provisional patent application first because it requires less work and is cheaper to file than a complete utility patent application. The provisional application reserves an early filing date for an invention, but it does not turn into a patent.

Reserving an early filing date in the U.S is extremely important because it has a first to file rule that awards a patent to the inventor who first files a patent application with the patent office. As such, inventors often choose to first file a provisional application to obtain the early filing date.

That said, a provisional patent never turns into a granted patent, as such an inventor has 12 months from filing a provisional application to file a nonprovisional utility patent application to continue patent his invention.

If an inventor does not file a nonprovisional patent application within the 12 month period, the early filing date is lost and the provisional application is deemed to have been abandoned.

Obtaining Both a Utility Patent and a Design Patent

Some inventions may be protected by both a utility patent and a design patent. However, for an inventor to obtain both a utility and design patent, an inventor must file two separate patent applications. The utility patent will protect the functional aspects of the invention, while the design patent will protect the appearance of the invention.

If the appearance or aesthetics of your invention contributes to the popularity of your product or invention, then you should seek a design patent in addition to a utility patent. Design patents are easier to obtain than utility patent and they also cost less, since they're not as complicated as utility patents.

Having overlapping protection for your invention or product adds tremendous value to your invention and protects you from copycats who may copy not only the function of your product but also its design.

Patent Rebel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) What does utility patent mean?

Utility patent means that you're dealing with a form of intellectual property (IP) protection that's protecting how an invention or product works. For example, if a product is protected by a utility patent, you cannot use, makes, or sell the product without first obtaining an inventor's express permission to do so.

2) What qualifies for a utility patent?

For a product or invention to qualify for a utility patent, it must be new, nonobvious, have a patentable subject matter, and offer some useful purpose. Also, for an invention or product to qualify for a patent, an inventor must prepare an accurate patent application, file it with the USPTO, and prosecute it until the patent office issues a patent for that product/invention.

3) Should I patent my product?

If you have a product that you know you can successfully commercialize, you should patent it because a utility patent will allow you to control who uses, makes, and sells the product. A patent allows you to protect your intellectual property, enabling you to choose who you sell or license your IP to.

4) Are patents worth the money?

Patents can be worth the money if the product you're patenting has a market or you know you can license the use of your patented invention to others in exchange for a fee.

5) Should I patent my idea before selling my product?

If you have a product that will become successful, you should patent it prior to selling it. This is so because, in the US, an inventor cannot patent an invention that has been publicly disclosed or offered for sale more than 12 months prior to filing a patent application with the USPTO.

6) Can I patent a product that already exists?

No, you cannot patent a product that already exists if you're not the original inventor of the product and more than 12 months have passed since the product is being offered for sale or publicly disclosed.

7) What is the length of a utility patent?

A utility patent has a length of 20 years. The 20-year patent term/life is measured from the date an inventor files his utility patent application with the patent office. A utility patent may expire before the expiration of the patent term if the maintenance fees on the patent are not paid on time.


registering-a-patent

Registering a Patent

If you have an idea or an invention that you're currently working on, you might be wondering how to register a patent with the USPTO to obtain a patent to protect your invention from being used and copied by others. Patents are intellectual property rights that allow an inventor to control who uses, makes, sells, and imports the patented invention for a limited period of time. Utility patents last for 20 years from the filing date of a patent application and design patents last for 15 years from the date the USPTO grants a patent application. So, how do you register a patent with the patent office? We will answer this question below.

What is Registering a Patent?

Registering a patent is the process of preparing a patent application, filing it with the USPTO, and prosecuting it so that an inventor can successfully patent his invention and have the patent office issue an inventor a patent to protect his invention.

How to Register a Patent?

Registering a patent can be done by preparing a patent application for an invention and filing it with the patent office. Once the patent office grants a patent application, a patent will have been registered and an inventor can begin controlling who uses, makes, and sells the invention protected by the patent registration.

To register a patent, an inventor must perform the following steps:

  • Choose a patent that's suitable for the invention you want to register

  • Document the Invention you want to Register

  • Don't talk about your invention publicly

  • Hire an attorney to assist you with the patent registration process

  • Conduct a prior art search

  • Prepare a patent application

  • File your patent registration application with the patent office

  • Check the status of your patent registration

  • Patent application is approved

Choose a Patent That's Suitable For the Invention You Want to Register !

Before applying to register a patent with the USPTO, inventors must choose the appropriate type of patent for their invention. The USPTO currently offers three types of patents that can be registered: (1) utility patent registration, (2) design patent registration, and (3) plant patent registration. We will discuss these three types of patents in more detail below.

Utility Patent Registration

Registering a utility patent protects how an invention works, as well as how it used. Said differently, utility patents protect the functional aspects of an invention. Utility patents last for 20 years from the date an inventor files a patent application with the USPTO.

Design Patent Registration

Registering a design patent protects how an invention looks or the appearance of an invention. Said differently, a design patent protects the aesthetics of an invention. It cannot be used to protect the functional aspects of an invention. Design patents offer 15 years of patent protection.

Plant Patent Registration

Registering a plant patent protects new, asexually reproduced species of plants. Plant patents, like utility patents, offer 20 years of protection. That said, plant patents are the least sought after patent, making up less than one percent of all applied for patents.

Document the Invention you want to Register

To register your invention, you should take notes about how you came up with the idea and the different tasks that you performed to make your invention. Having a well-documented invention makes establishing ownership over your invention easy and establishes that you are indeed the original inventor of the invention.

Having a well-documented invention also makes the life of the attorney who's assisting you with patenting your invention much easier. Since an attorney may have to spend less time preparing your patent application, this will reduce the attorney fees that you pay.

So, while taking notes is time-consuming, it will make patenting and registering your invention with the USPTO much easier.

Don't Talk About Your Invention Publicly

If you have an invention that you want to register and patent in the US and abroad, you should not disclose your invention to the public. The United States offers inventors a 12 month grace period during which to patent an invention after disclosing it. Other countries do not offer such a grace period and any public disclosure of the invention will render the invention unpatentable.

Also, the United States has a first to file rule that grants a patent to the inventor who first files a patent application with the USPTO.

For example, if you make an invention and party B makes the same invention two years later but files a patent application with the patent office before you do, party B will be awarded a patent and you will not even though you made the invention first.

As such, if you have an invention, don't sit on it for too long because you might miss your opportunity to patent your invention and register it with the USPTO.

Hire an Attorney to Assist you with the Invention Registration Process

Patenting an invention and registering it with the USPTO is a complicated and time-consuming process. To comply with all of the requirements for patenting an invention, inventors should hire an experienced patent attorney. Patent attorneys have the knowledge and legal skills to properly navigate the patent registration process.

Patent attorneys typically charge $5,000 to assist inventors with patenting simple inventions, however, the cost to patent more complex inventions can easily exceed $15,000.

If you don't have the funds to hire an attorney, consider hiring a patent agent to assist you with patenting and registering your invention with the USPTO.

Conduct a Prior Art Search

Prior to registering and patenting an invention, an inventor or his attorney must conduct a prior art search. Conducting a prior art search entails searching the world wide web, USPTO patent database, international patent bases, and journals or other written materials for inventions that are the same as or similar to the one the inventor is seeking to patent.

Conducting a prior art search is a complicated and time-consuming task that should be performed by an individual who is experienced in performing prior art searches for patenting and registering inventions with the patent office. So, hire someone who has experience performing this type of search before proceeding to prepare a patent application.

Prepare a Patent Application

Preparing a well-written patent application is extremely important because the patent application and patent claims lay out the scope of the invention an inventor is seeking to register and patent with the USPTO.

The broader the patent claims, the more protection and more control an inventor will have over his invention. Said differently, the broader the claims, the broader the control an inventor will have over his invention.

Hiring an attorney to prepare a patent application is not required by the USPTO, however, the patent office strongly recommends that inventors hire an attorney to prepare their patent application because patent law is quite demanding as to the content and preparation of patent applications.

Making even seemingly minor mistakes could cost you a ton of money and time to fix later in the patenting process.

File Your Patent Registration Application with the USPTO

After an inventor prepares his patent registration application, he should then file the application with the USPTO. Filing a patent application in the United States is not free, an inventor must pay a basic filing fee, along with a patent examination fee and a patent search fee. Once the fees are paid, the application goes into a queue until it's assigned to a patent examiner.

Periodically Check the Status of Your Patent Registration Application

After filing a patent registration application with the patent office, an applicant must periodically check the status of his patent application. Now, we're not telling you to check the status every 30 minutes, but it's a good habit to check its status every week to ensure that you respond to the patent office's request for any additional documents or that changes/amendments be made to your patent registration application.

Patent Application is Approved

After filing your patent application, the patent office may require some changes and/or amendments to your application. If your application is complete and meets the patenting requirements, the patent office will approve your patent registration application and your patent will be granted and issued.

As soon as the patent office grants an inventor's patent application, an inventor will be able to control who uses, makes, sells, and imports the patented invention to the United States. If anyone wants to use or sell a patent holder's invention, he must first obtain the patent holder's express permission to do so.

Filing a Patent Registration Application Without an Attorney

Patenting an invention is a complex process especially for an individual who does not have experience preparing patent applications. Preparing a patent application should only be done by an experienced individual because making even small mistakes could delay the lengthy process of registering and patenting an invention.

Federal US law mandates that the USPTO assist inventors who want to patent their invention on their own, but they also recommend that inventors hire an attorney to assist them with patenting their invention because of the complexity of patent law.

U.S Patent Law is complex and places a lot of requirements on how a patent application must be prepared, as well as the content that must be present in the application for an inventor to patent his invention.

Leaving out information or making mistakes could delay your application and cost you more money down the road to make additions and/or amendments to your patent application. So, hire an attorney and have the job done right from the beginning.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you should explore the option of hiring a patent agent. Patent agents are licensed by the USPTO the same way patent attorneys are licensed by the USPTO and are able to assist inventors with preparing their patent application, filing it with the patent office, and prosecuting it until the patent office grants or rejects the patent registration application.

How Much Does it Cost to Register a Patent?

To register and patent an invention, it costs approximately $5,000 to patent a simple and straightforward invention and $15,000+ to patent more complex inventions. The cost to patent an invention depends mainly on the complexity of your invention, the experience of your attorney, and the geographical location of the attorney assisting you with patenting your invention.

Who Can Register a Patent?

Any inventor of a new invention, machine, process, design, or new plant species can file a patent application with the USPTO to register and patent his invention. As we mentioned above, to register and patent an invention, and inventor must follow the strict rules set forth by US Patent Law to be able to obtain a patent over his invention.

How Long Does it Take to Register a Patent?

According to data from the USPTO, it currently takes 24 months for an inventor to successfully register and obtain a patent. The 24-month patenting period begins the moment an inventor files a patent application with the patent office and lasts until the patent office either grants or denies a patent application.

If an applicant wants to speed up his patent application, he has two options. If an applicant filed a utility patent application, he can speed up his application by requesting to use the USPTO's Track One services.

Track one promises to process a patent application within 12 months, which is much quicker than the 24 month waiting period for regular applications. That said, an applicant must pay an extra fee to use this service.

If an inventor is applying for a design patent, an applicant also has the option to speed up the process by requesting an expedited review of his design under Rocket Docket.

Rocket docket promises to grant a design patent application within 12 months of an applicant filing his design patent application. That said, some inventors have reported being able to patent their design in as little as four months. Like Track One, an applicant must pay an additional fee to use this service.

How Long Does a Patent Registration Last?

Utility patent registration lasts for 20 years. The 20-year patent term begins the moment an inventor files a regular, nonprovisional patent application with the USPTO. However, for an inventor to keep his utility patent active and in its grant state, he must pay three periodic maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years. Failure to pay any of these maintenance fees will result in the expiration of the utility patent.

Design patents last for 15 years from the date the patent office grants a design patent application. Unlike utility patents, a design patent holder does not need to pay maintenance fees to keep his design patent in its active registration state.

How Many Patents can Inventor Register?

An inventor can register an unlimited number of patents. US Patent law and the USPTO do not place a limit on the number of inventions a patent holder can patent. That said, if an inventor wants to patent multiple inventions, he must file separate patent applications for each invention or design he wants to patent. This can be very costly, but if you have the resources and you know that you can make money from patenting your invention, it might be worth it to spend the time and money patenting them.

Patent Rebel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) Do patents have to be registered?

To obtain a patent and register an invention with the USPTO, an inventor must prepare and file a patent application with the patent office. So, yes patents must be registered and approved by the patent office before an inventor becomes a patent holder to benefit from the protection of patent laws.

2) How do I register my patent?

You can register your patent by preparing a patent application, filing it with the USPTO, and prosecuting your patent application. If you are interested in patenting your invention, you should contact an experienced patent attorney in your state for more information on registering your patent.

3) What are the three types of patents I can register?

The patent office offers inventors three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Utility patents are the most popular patent, followed by design patents and plant patents.

4) Can you register a patent after disclosing your invention?

In the US, you have 12 months to register and file a patent application with the USPTO from the date you publicly disclosed your invention, offered it for sale, or sold it. If an inventor does not file a patent application within the 12 month grace period, his invention will no longer be eligible for a patent. That said, the U.S is lenient and offers a 12 month grace period, other countries are not as lenient as the US and require that no disclosure of the invention has occurred.

5) What does it mean to register a patent?

Registering a patent refers to the process of patenting an invention. Patenting invention requires an applicant to prepare a patent application, file it with the patent office, and prosecutes it until the patent office grants a patent application, thereby granting an inventor a patent over his invention.

6) How do I register a utility / design patent?

The process for registering a design and utility patent is very similar and requires an applicant to prepare and file a patent application with the USPTO. If you have a design or invention that you want to register, please contact an attorney and ask them whether it's worth it for your specific case.


what-does-patent-protect

What Does a Patent Protect?

The USPTO offers inventors of new machines, processes, or designs the ability to protect them by obtaining a patent. So, what exactly is a patent and what does a patent protect? We will answer these questions in the section below.

What Does a Patent Protect?

A patent is an intellectual property right that is granted by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to an inventor. A patent protects an inventor's invention by giving him the right to control who uses, makes, and sells the invention that he has patented. No one can use, make, or sell the patented invention without the patent holder's express permission to do so.

For example, if an inventor invents a new pair of scissors, patenting those scissors will allow him to stop anyone from making a pair of scissors that work the same way as the scissors he has patented.

Also, if a third party makes a similar pair of scissors, the patent holder will be able to bring a lawsuit against that part for patent infringement to stop them from using, making, or selling his invention without his express permission.

Without having a patent on an invention, anyone can use, make, and sell the patented invention without having to obtain an inventor's permission and without having to compensate him for the use or manufacturing of his invention.

As such, patents are important for inventors because they allow them to protect their inventions and prohibit others from using them without their permission.

That said, as a patent holder, an inventor can choose to allow others to use, make, and sell the patented invention by executing a licensing agreement.

A licensing agreement is an agreement where the patent holder allows a third party to make, sell, or use the patented invention in exchange for an agreed-upon royalty or fee.

Types of Patent Protection

The USPTO offers inventors three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Utility patents are the most commonly applied for patent, with design patents coming in second, and plant patents coming in third.

What Does a Utility Patent Protect ?

Utility patents protect the functional aspects of an invention. Said differently, they protect how an invention works and how it's used by the end-user.

What Does a Design Patent Protect ?

Design patents, on the other hand, protect the aesthetic of an invention. To simplify things, a design patent protects the appearance of an invention and cannot be used to protect the functional aspects of an invention.

What Does a Plant Patent Protect ?

Plant patents protect new asexually reproduced plant species. Plant patents make up less than 1% of all applied for patents.

Choosing the Right Type of Patent Protection

Inventors should know the difference between the various types of patents because each patent provides a different form of protection.

Some inventions can be protected with both a utility patent and a design patent, so if you're an inventor and you've created an invention that not only performs a new function but also has a unique appearance, you should ask your attorney about obtaining both a utility patent and a design patent.

How Long Does a Patent Protect an Invention For?

The answer to this question depends on the type of patent that you're referring to.

Utility patents, which are the most commonly applied for patent, protect an invention for 20 years from the date an applicant files a utility patent application with the USPTO.

Design patents, on the other hand, protect an invention for 15 years from the date the patent office grants a design patent application.

During the patent term, inventors can control who uses, makes, sells, and imports the patented invention to the United States.

Once the patent term ends and the patent expires, the invention falls into the public domain.

Once a patent falls into the public domain, anyone can use, make, and sell the patented invention without having to obtain A patent holder's express permission to do so.

How to Obtain Patent Protection?

To obtain patent protection, an inventor must prepare a patent application describing his invention and setting for patent claims that define the scope of the invention he's seeking to protect.

Once an inventor prepares a patent application, he must file the application with the patent office and pay the applicable patenting fees.

Every claim in an inventor's patent application defines a specific property right. As such, the patent office will look over the patent application to ensure that every patent claim meets the patenting requirements.

For an inventor to obtain a patent, he must establish that his invention:

  • Has patentable subject matter
  • Is novel (new)
  • Is nonobvious
  • Serves some useful purpose

Typically, after an inventor files his patent application with the USPTO, he tracks the status of his application and responds to any inquiries, changes, or amendments that the patent office is requesting.

If the patent examiner determines that his invention meets the patenting requirements, the patent examiner will grant him a patent. If not, the application is rejected and if the errors are fixable, the applicant will have an opportunity to fix them and continue the patenting process.

What Happens After a Patent Expires?

After a patent expires, anyone can use, make, and sell the once patented invention without having to obtain the express permission of the patent holder to do so.

Once a patent expires, it cannot be renewed, the invention falls into the public domain and becomes prior art, prohibiting anyone else from re-patenting the same invention.

Since inventors cannot re-patent a once patented invention, some inventors patent improvements to existing inventions.

For example, if a chair was patented and inventor came up with a rocking chair, he may be able to patent the rocking chair since it uses an existing chair and adds the ability for it to rock. This can be something that can be patented because it improves upon or builds upon an existing invention.

Utility patents last for 20 years and then the patent term expires, placing the invention in the public domain for anyone to use. Design patents last for 15 years, after which the patent expires, also placing the invention into the public domain for anyone to use.

Why Do Countries Offer Patent Protection?

Countries offer patent protection to encourage inventors to invest their time and money in developing new inventions and products.

By promising inventors a limited-time monopoly over their invention, the theory is that inventors will be encouraged to invent and make new things since they will have a limited period of time (15 to 20 years) to recoup the money they invested in making the invention.

In exchange for granting an inventor a monopoly over his invention for a limited time, most patent systems mandate that an inventor publicly disclose the invention.

Public disclosure of the invention involves disclosing everything there is to know about to make the invention, as well as how to use it to the public.

For example, in the United States, an inventor first prepares a patent application that explains how to make the invention, as well as how to make it. Once the patent office grants the patent, the application is published, teaching the public everything there is to know about the invention.

However, the public cannot use, make, or sell the invention while the patent is in effect. If a member of the public wants to use, make, or sell the patented invention or product, he must obtain the express permission of the inventor to do so.

So, basically, in exchange for teaching the public about how to make the invention, inventors obtain a monopoly over their invention for a limited period of time.

Patent Rebel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) What kind of protection does a patent offer?

A patent offers the patent holder the right to stop others from using, making, selling, and importing the patented invention for a limited period of time. The period of time is 20 years for utility patents and 15 years for design patents.

2) What does patent protection mean?

Patent protection means that inventors have the right to control who uses, makes, or sells their invention while the patent is active. The right to control a patented invention lasts for a limited period of time.

3) How long is a patent good for?

Utility patents are good for 20 years from the filing date of a nonprovisional patent application. Design patents are good for 15 years from the date the patent office grants a design patent application. Plant patents last for 20 years from the date of filing a patent application.

4) How much do patents cost?

The cost of patenting an invention varies greatly depending on the complexity of the invention and the geographical location of your attorney. For example, a simple invention could cost $7000 to patent whereas more complex inventions can easily cost $15,000 to patent.

5) Can you sell a patent?

Yes, an inventor owns the rights to his patent, as such, he has the right to sell or license the use of his patent to whomever he wants.

What Kind of Protection does a Patent Offer?

At this point, you should know that a patent grants an inventor the limited time right to control who uses, makes, sells, or imports the patented invention without first obtaining his express permission. Patents are an intellectual property rights that are granted to inventors who make new and unique inventions and then patent their invention. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


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Provisional Patent vs Utility Patent

If you're like most of the visitors who visit Patent Rebel, you might be wondering: what is the difference between a provisional patent and a utility patent. The USPTO offers inventors the option of either filing a provisional patent application or a nonprovisional utility patent application. If you want to learn what the difference is between a utility patent and a provisional patent, read below to find out.

Provisional Patent vs Utility Patent

A provisional patent, correctly known as a provisional patent application, is a patent application that does not require many of the formalities that are required for a regular utility patent application, but it does not turn into a patent, whereas a non-provisional utility patent application turns into a patent grant.

Let's dive deeper into the differences between a provisional patent application and a utility patent application.

Provisional Patent (What does provisional patent mean?)

A provisional patent application is a toned-down version of a nonprovisional utility patent application. Provisional applications do not require much of the information required for a complete utility patent application.

For example, a provisional patent application does not require formal patent claims, if you've ever drafted a utility patent application, this is one of the longest and most time-consuming portions to create because it sets out the scope of an inventor's patent rights.

Also, provisional patent applications are much cheaper to file than utility patent applications because they require less to be performed by an attorney. As such, many inventors choose to file a provisional patent application to obtain an early filing date.

You might be wondering: why is obtaining an early filing date for an invention important?

Obtaining an early filing date for an invention is important because the United States has adopted a first to file rule, which grants a patent to the inventor who first files a patent application with the patent office.

The first to file rule encourages inventors who have inventions that they want to protect to head over to the patent office to file a patent application.

The importance can be illustrated with the following example.

Let's say that you invent something first and a subsequent inventor invents the same invention 2 years later but files a patent application before you do. The subsequent inventor will be awarded a patent application and you will not because he filed a patent application before you did.

The fact that you invented the invention first does not matter in this analysis. This is why inventors rush to the patent office to file an application to obtain an early filing date for it.

Many inventors choose to first a provisional patent application because it can be prepared fairly quickly when compared to preparing a complete nonprovisional utility patent application.

The only downside to filing a provisional patent application is that it does not turn into a patent because it's not examined by the USPTO.

As such, inventors file a provisional patent application for the early filing date and later file a nonprovisional patent application that benefits from the early filing date of the provisional patent application.

Utility Patent (What does utility patent mean?)

So, now we know that a provisional patent application is cheap, quick to prepare, and easy to file, so how does a nonprovisional utility patent application compare?

A nonprovisional utility patent application is a regular, formal patent application that must comply with the hundreds of requirements set forth by the USPTO.

Close attention to details and requirements must be paid to properly prepare, file, and prosecute a utility patent application.

Making even seemingly minor mistakes in a utility patent application could cost an inventor a ton of money and time to repair down the road.

As such, it is imperative that inventors hire an experienced patent attorney to assist them with preparing, filing, and prosecuting a utility patent application.

If you're an inventor with little to no experience prepare utility patent application, you should hire an experienced patent attorney to assist you with patenting your invention.

Patent Pending Status (What is it? & how do you get it?)

As soon as an inventor files either a provisional patent application or utility patent application, he will be able to advertise his invention. or product as patent pending. He may add the term "patent pending" to the product itself, product packaging, and any instruction manuals for the product.

This is a great advantage when it comes to advertising because consumers often associate patent-pending products with quality and ingenuity. So, if you've filed your patent application, you can immediately add this designation without doing anything else.

Turning a Provisional Patent Into a Utility Patent

By now, you should know that filing a provisional patent application does not result in a patent.

To obtain a utility patent and benefit from the early filing date of a provisional patent application, an inventor must file a nonprovisional patent application that claims the benefit of the earlier-filed provisional patent application.

Inventors have 12 months from filing a provisional patent application to file a nonprovisional patent application that claims the benefit of an earlier-filed provisional application to benefit from its earlier filing date.

If an inventor does not file a utility patent application within the 12 month grace period, the early filing date is lost. If the early filing date is lost, the inventor will have to rely on the filing date of the filing of the nonprovisional patent application.

Also, if an inventor files a provisional patent application and then files a nonprovisional utility patent application that adds new matters to the invention and those matters were not described in the provisional application, they are considered to be new matter and the inventor will not be able to benefit from the earlier filing date as it pertains to them.

The resulting patent will be a hybrid patent with some portions of the invention having priority of the earlier filing date and new matter having the filing date of the nonprovisional utility patent application.

As such, although some inventors believe that they do not have to spend the time and money preparing a provisional application, they are mistaken. Poor choices they make when preparing a provisional application will come back to bite them when the time comes to filing a nonprovisional utility patent application.

Should you Get a Utility Patent or Provisional Patent?

Inventors often start off by filing a provisional patent application to quickly obtain an early filing date and then file a nonprovisional utility patent application within the 12 month grace period to continue patenting their invention.

A provisional patent application is great for someone who is still working on his invention, knows how to describe how it works, yet doesn't want to invest heavily in patenting it right away.

The provisional application gives an inventor an early filing date and some flexibility to continue working on an invention, perfecting further.

Also, having a patent-pending invention makes finding and convincing investors to invest in your invention or product easier because it proves to them that you've taken legal measures to protect your work.

Also, having a patent pending on an invention shows inventors that you have rights to your work and that there is something tangible that they can invest their money in.

So, if you have an invention and you still haven't filed a patent application, what are you waiting for? Hire an attorney and ask them to assist you with patenting your invention and obtaining patent pending status on your invention.

Benefits of a Provisional Patent

As mentioned earlier, the main benefit of filing a provisional patent application is that it gives inventors an early filing date for their invention. This is especially important in situations where many people are seeking to patent the same invention.

The first to file rule in the U.S awards a patent to the first inventor who files a patent application, as such, provisional patents are an important tool for inventors all around the world seeking to patent their inventions in the United States.

Patent Rebel Note: To benefit from a provisional patent, make sure that you take the time to accurately describe the invention you're seeking to patent. Leaving out critical information about the invention you're seeking to patent may cost you a patent. So, hire an attorney and have done correctly if you value your invention and believe it will become commercially successful.

The second benefit of obtaining a provisional patent (filing a provisional patent application) is that you'll be able to market and advertise your invention as patent-pending as soon as you file your provisional patent application with the USPTO.

Now, let's discuss the benefits of obtaining a utility patent.

Benefits of a Utility Patent

Utility patents have many benefits, so let's dive right into them!

The biggest benefit of obtaining a utility patent over an invention is that a patent holder is able to control who uses, makes, sells, and imports his patented invention to the United States.

By being to control who uses and sells his patented invention, an inventor may be able to become the only person selling the patented product, thereby cornering the market and creating an advantage for himself over his competitors.

Also, as a patent holder, an inventor enjoys the right to allow others to use his invention in exchange for a fee or agreed upon royalty. This is what is known as licensing. An inventor can license the use or creation of his patented invention to others in exchange for an agreed-upon fee.

Licensing agreements can prove to be very lucrative, especially if the invention you've patented is something that others need and there is no other invention that solves the same one your invention solves.

Having said that, patents are also great for inventors because if someone copies or sells the inventor's invention without his permission, he can bring a lawsuit against that party in Federal District Court for patent infringement.

If the inventor is successful in his lawsuit, he will obtain an injunction, ordering the infringer to stop his infringing use of the inventor's patented invention or product.

So, as you can see, it might be worth your time to patent your invention, especially if you know that your invention solves a problem that no other invention solves.

However, before proceeding with patenting your invention, you should consult with your own attorney to determine whether patenting your invention is worth your time and whether you should spend your time and money patenting it because the patenting process is costly and time-consuming.

Frequently Asked Questions at Patent Rebel (FAQs)

1) What is the difference between a provisional and a non provisional patent?

The main difference between the two is that a provisional patent is a placeholder in time that gives an inventor some time to file a utility patent. Whereas a non-provisional utility patent is a full-fledged complete patent application that turns into a patent. Whether you choose to file a provisional application or a non provisional patent application, you should consult with your attorney before doing so.

2) What are the three types of patents?

The three types of patents offered by the USPTO are utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Utility patents are the most applied for patent and they protect how an invention works. Design patents, on the other hand, are the second most applied for patent and they protect the appearance of an invention or how it looks. Plant patents are the least applied for patent and make up less than 1% of all applied for patents and they protect new, asexually reproduced plant species.

3) Does a provisional patent affect the patent term?

Yes, a provisional patent affects the patent term. The patent term without filing a provisional patent lasts for 20 years from the date an applicant files his nonprovisional patent application. However, when an inventor files a provisional patent application and follows up by filing a nonprovisional patent application, the patent term begins at the time of filing the provisional application thereby extending the 20 year patent term to 21 years.

4) Can a patent last forever?

No, a patent can never last forever. Utility patents last for 20 years from the filing date of a nonprovisional patent application. Design patents last for 15 years from the date the patent office grants a design patent application. Once a patent expires, it cannot be renewed. However, you may be able to patent an improvement to your invention and that could extend the amount of time you're able to benefit from your original invention.

5) Can you patent an expired patent?

No, once a patent expires, it falls into the public domain and cannot be patented again. When a patent falls into the public, anyone is free to use, make, and sell the patented invention without having to obtain the express permission of the patent holder.

6) Does a patent pending protect you?

A patent pending does not protect inventors. An inventor does not have any rights to an invention while a patent application is pending. An inventor gains rights to an invention only after the USPTO grants his patent application. Before that happens an inventor does not have rights to his invention.

Utility Patent vs Provisional Patent

At this point, you should know the difference between a utility patent and a provisional patent. Utility patent applications are full-fledged patent applications that turn into granted patents. However, provisional patent applications never turn into a patent. Instead, to get a patent, an inventor must file a nonprovisional utility patent application that relates back to an earlier-filed provisional patent. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


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How to File a Patent?

If you're like many inventors out there, you're probably working on your invention or you've completed working on it and you're wondering how to prepare and file your patent application with the USPTO. If that's you, you've come to the right place as we will discuss what you need to do to prepare and file your patent application with the patent office in the US.

How to File a Patent?

According to the USPTO, the best and most cost-effective way to file a patent application is to utilize the USPTO EFS Website to submit a patent application online. Choosing to not file a patent application electronically comes with a hefty fee of $400 to file a paper application.

That said, prior to filing a patent application, an inventor should perform several steps to avoid problems down the road.

Here is a summary of the things that you should have prepared prior to filing a patent application with the USPTO:

  • Choose the patent that's suitable for your invention
  • Document work on your invention
  • Keep your invention secret
  • Hire an attorney
  • Conduct a prior art search
  • Prepare your patent application
  • File your application with the Patent Office
  • Periodically check the status of your patent application

One: Choosing the Right Type of Patent

Before an inventor files a patent application or even begins preparing one, he should choose the appropriate type of patent for his invention. The USPTO currently offers three types of different patent applications: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. We will explain the type of invention that these patents protect below.

Utility Patent

Utility patents protect the function of an invention. That is, utility patents protect how to make an invention, as well as how the invention works or achieves its purpose. Utility patents do not protect the appearance of an invention unless the appearance is in itself functional. Utility patents last for 20 years.

Design Patent

Design patents protect the aesthetics or appearance of an invention. Said differently, they protect how an invention looks, such as an invention's design or the appearance of product packaging. Design patents do not protect how an invention works. Design patents are good for 15 years.

Plant Patent

Plant patents protect new asexually reproduced species of plants. Plant patents, like utility patents, offer 20 years of protection and only protect new species of plants. Plant patents make up less than 1% of all applied for patents at the USPTO.

Two: Document Work on Your Invention

Documenting all of the work that you're doing to create your invention is very important because it helps you establish evidence that you are indeed the original inventor of the invention.

We know that taking notes while making your invention is time-consuming but may prove to be very important for protecting your intellectual property rights if your rights are ever challenged by someone else.

Also, taking copious notes will assist your attorney is understanding how your invention works, as well as how to make your invention. If your notes are good enough and help your attorney save some time preparing your invention, you may be able to save some money on attorney fees.

Three: Keep Your Invention Secret

Keeping your invention secret is of utmost importance and we'll explain why. The United States requires inventors to file a patent application with the USPTO within 12 months of publicly disclosing their invention, offering it for sale, or selling it.

That said, the U.S is lenient in that it offers a 12 month grace period for inventors to file their patent application because other countries don't offer a grace period to inventors who publicly disclose their invention, instead, they consider the invention as public and therefore unpatentable.

So, if you want to patent your invention in countries other than the US, make sure that you keep your invention secret until you've filed a patent application in each country where you want to protect your invention.

In most countries, once you've filed a patent application, you can go ahead and discuss your invention publicly. That said, it's best to consult with your attorney prior to disclosing your invention.

Four: Hire an Attorney to Conduct a Prior Art Search

Prior to preparing a patent application, an inventor should consult with an attorney and conduct a prior art search. A prior art search is a search for inventions that are the same as or similar to the one that an inventor is seeking to patent.

A prior art search usually starts by searching the internet for similar inventions, then proceeding to search patent databases, such as the USPTO Patent Database and other international databases of internationally patented inventions.

Once these two searches are conducted, a patent attorney will typically then move to search science journals that are related to the field of the invention you're seeking to patent.

If an attorney wants to get into more detail, he can dive into engineering archives that are related to your invention and search those, as well. But, typically, that's as deep as attorneys will go when conducting a prior art search for an invention.

Five: Prepare Your Patent Application

Once you've conducted a prior art search and the search did not reveal anything that prohibits you from patenting your invention, your attorney will probably begin preparing a patent application for your invention.

Preparing a patent application is the most important and time-consuming task in the process of patenting an invention. It's important because the quality of your patent application will determine the quality of protection that you receive from your patent.

The broader and stronger the application, the more control an inventor will have over his invention. As such, it's important for you or your attorney to take the time to draft a strong patent application.

Some inventors choose to patent their invention on their own to save money and this means drafting either a provisional patent application to quickly obtain an early filing date for the invention or drafting a regular, nonprovisional patent application.

A provisional patent application (PPA) is used by inventors to obtain a priority date for an invention. Obtaining an early priority date (filing date) is important in the US because it has a first to file rule that awards a patent to the party that first files a patent application for an invention.

The first to file rule can be illustrated by the following example. If you invent something first and two years later, Inventor B invents the same invention but files a patent application first, inventor B will be awarded a patent and you will not even though you made the invention first.

This is so because inventor B filed a patent application first. As such, if you have an invention, don't sit on it for too long because if you do, someone else might file a patent application for it at the patent office, barring you from patenting the invention even though you invented it first.

That said, you should not prepare a patent application on your own if you do not have the expertise to do so. We acknowledge that you can save a ton of money by preparing the application on your own, but you're sacrificing the quality of the patent you may get by doing so.

If you don't have the money to hire an attorney, you may choose to go with a patent agent. Patent agents can assist inventors with all aspects of patenting their invention at the USPTO.

Six: File Your Patent Application

Once you've prepared a strong patent application, it's time to file it with the USPTO. Filing a patent application can be done online. If you've hired an attorney, your attorney can file your patent application online for you.

Filing a patent application is the cheapest way to do so. Filing a paper application comes with an additional hefty fee of $400. So, get to a computer and file your patent application electronically.

At the time you file your patent application, you need to pay the application filing fee, as well as other patenting fees, such as the patent search fee and patent examination fee. You may liable for additional fees depending on your application, so please check the USPTO website for fee information prior to filing a patent application.

Unfortunately, if you want to file a patent application for free, you cannot because the patent office does not provide free services, however, they do offer discounted rates for small inventors.

Seven: Periodically Check the Status of Your Patent Application

Once you've filed a patent application, it's imperative that you periodically check the status of your patent application. The USPTO will update the status of your application at each step of the process.

You need to make sure that the patent office has everything they need to process your application. Periodically checking the status of your application will ensure that you reply to the patent office in a timely manner.

If the patent office needs additional information or needs you to make any changes, amendments, or additions to your application, you will know to do so by checking the status of your application.

You can check the status of your patent application by following these steps:

  • Heading over to https://uspto.gov
  • Clicking on patents
  • Select patent application status from the drop-down menu
  • Clicking on private PAIR to public PAIR to track the status of your application
  • Once you've performed these steps, you will see a ton of relevant information, such as:
    • Name of your invention
    • Examiner name
    • Invention class
    • Status of your application
    • History of actions performed on your application

Should You File a Patent Application?

If you have an invention that you know you can profit from, you should go ahead and contact a patent attorney to assist you with patenting your invention.

Filing a patent application to patent your invention is worth it for inventors who have an invention that is commercially viable. Obtaining a patent allows a patent holder to control who uses, makes, and sells his invention.

For example, if you have a new type of nail clippers that make cutting nails easier and quicker, patenting is a great option.

This is so because a patent on such a product allows an inventor to stop others from using, making, selling, and importing the patented product to the United States for a limited period of time.

This limited period of time is 20 years for utility patents and begins the moment an inventor files a utility patent application with the patent office.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent Application Approved?

According to data from the USPTO, it currently takes 24 months for the patent office to either approve or deny applicants' patent application. The 24 month time period begins at the time an applicant files his or her nonprovisional, regular patent application with the USPTO.

If an inventor wants to obtain a patent more quickly, he can use the Track One Service, which is a service offered by the USPTO that promises to either grant or deny a patent application within 12 months of an applicant filing a nonprovisional utility patent application. Applicants have reported obtaining a utility patent under Track One in as little as 6 months.

That said, if you're applying for a design patent, the patent office offers a similar service for design patent applications. The service is known as Rocket Docket and it promises to either grant or deny a patent application within 12 months, however, applicants have reported obtaining a design patent in 4 months using this service.

Patent Rebel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) How much does it cost to file a patent application?

The cost to file a patent application is different from one inventor to another. Expect to pay approximately $1000 in patenting fees when you submit your patent application.

2) Can I file a patent application on my own?

Absolutely, anyone can file a patent application and they do not need to be represented by an attorney. However, the USPTO strongly recommends that applicants hire an attorney to prepare and file a patent application on their behalf.

3) What are the two main types of patents?

The two main types of patents sought after at the USPTO are utility patents and design patents. Utility patents protect how an invention works and design patents protect how an invention looks. So, know which type of patent you need before applying.

How to File for a Patent?

You can file for a patent by preparing a patent application, uploading the required information and documents to the USPTO website, paying the applicable filing fees and patenting fees, and submitting your application. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.