Why do people get patents

Why Do People Get Patents?

Patents are a type of intellectual property rights that grant inventors a monopoly over their invention for a limited period of time (usually 20 years). Once an inventor patents their invention, they can restrict others from making, using, selling, or importing their invention without their express permission.

So, why do people get patents?

People get patents to protect their intellectual property. Patents allow the holder to exclusively make, use, and sell his invention for a limited period of 20 years from the patent's filing date. Being able to exclusively make and sell an invention often allows inventors to make good profits for a limited period of time.

Profiting from an invention is one of the biggest incentives people have for patenting their invention. The monopoly people get to enjoy over their invention motivates them to create and bring new ideas to life.

Inventors are often faced with many obstacles before coming up with a successful invention, as such it's great that we have a system that awards them for their hard work and innovation.

Inventors who make something that's new and unique patent their invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

If you are curious about patents, you can search for existing patents by using Google Patents Search Tool. Simply enter the name of the invention you're looking for and you'll find plenty of results matching your search query.

Importance of Patents

Before we dive into the importance of patents, lets answer the question: where does the right to exclude others from using your invention come from? The power to exclude others from using or selling your invention comes from the U.S Constitution Article 1 | Section 8 | Clause 8, to be exact.

Exclusive Rights

Like we mentioned, patents grant inventors monopolies to exclusively make and sell their invention. So, if an inventors finds out that someone else is making and selling an invention that's the same as or similar to his, he will be able to stop them from doing so by suing them for patent infringement.

Opportunity to Sell or License Your Invention

Patents can make patent holders quite a lot of money, especially if the technology they've patented is unique and solves a problem that not many have been able to solve.

This puts the inventor in a great spot to either manufacture and market the invention himself, or to license the technology to others in exchange for a licensing fee or royalty. If an inventor doesn't want to license the technology, he can sell his patent by assigning it to someone else, thereby relinquishing any rights to the patent.

Return of Investment

Some companies invest millions of dollars developing the technology they've patented. Patents incentivize them to take these large risks because patents give them a period of time (usually 20 years) to recoup their investment and make a respectable amount of profit. In some circumstances, these returns can be huge, depending on the success of the invention.

Positive Image For You and Your Business

Both the public and investors perceive companies with large patent portfolios as being an innovator and producer of new technology. This is beneficial for inventors trying to raise money for their company.

How Do People Get a Patent?

People who have an invention that is new and unique can get a patent by filing an application with the USPTO. They will have to disclose their invention and how it works for the patent office to grant them a patent. They must file their patent application within 1 year of publicly disclosing their invention.

In the United States, getting a patent takes between 18 to 24 months, depending on the invention's complexity, the more complex, the more time it will take to get approved by the patent office.

After a person submits their patent application to the USPTO, an examiner is assigned to examine the invention. If the examiner determines that the invention meets all of the patentability requirements, the patent will be granted and the patent holder will be able to exercise his rights as they relate to the patent.

It's important to note that patents issued by the USPTO only protect the inventor within the United States. If the inventor wants protection overseas, he will have to apply for a patent in every countries he wants to protect his invention. That said, an inventor can stop anyone who tries to import his patented invention to the United States.

For example, if an inventor gets a patent in the United States, he will only be able to restrict others from making, using, or selling his invention in the United States. If he wants to prevent people from using or selling his invention in China, he will need to file and get a patent in China to protect his intellectual property rights.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Patent?

People who patent their inventions, typically spending $7,500 to $15,000 to have an attorney fill out and file their patent application. This cost does not include any of the filing fees imposed by the USPTO.

If the inventor is an individual, they should expect to spend another $1,000 on filing fees, assuming that everything goes smoothly with the patent office and the attorney does not need to perform any additional work.

Like we mentioned earlier, inventors who get patents in the United States may have to file international patents to protect their inventions abroad. This costs a lot of money. Some companies spend tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect a single invention abroad.

While protecting their invention abroad may be expensive, for some people it's worth the money spent if they have an invention worth protecting. Some may have to spend a lot of money upfront, but they may be able to recoup it by stopping others from infringing upon their intellectual property overseas.

Why Do People Who Get Patents Often Seek the Help of an Attorney?

Many people who want to patent their invention or process need the help of an attorney because of the USPTO's strict requirements. Good attorneys know how the patent system works and can often avoid costly and time consuming mistakes that inventors make. While hiring an attorney can reduce the possibility of things going wrong, some things just go wrong even if you did everything right.

You might apply to patent a new braking system for a bike and the patent examiner might reject your application for a minor mistakes. Also, the examination of patents is somewhat subjective, so while you or your lawyer might reasonably believe that you haven't infringed on anyone else's patent, the patent examiner might come to a different conclusion. This is where a smart attorney will present proof and argue with the patent examiner to get your patent approved.

The problem with hiring an attorney are the fees you'll have to pay them. A typical attorney charges anywhere between $7,500 to $15,000 for a simple invention, the cost may be more or less depending on the complexity of your invention. You may incur additional costs if your attorney needs to make revisions to your patent application. So, if you're budgeting for your a patent application, keep in mind that you may have to pay your attorney for more than just filing your patent application.

Why Do People Apply for Provisional Patents Before Getting a Patent?

Inventors often apply for provisional patent applications before applying for a non-provisional (regular) patent application. Provisional application reserve a prior date for an invention, but they do not mature into patents. They last for 12 months, during this 12 month period, the inventor has to file a nonprovisional (regular) application to get a patent. So, why do people apply for provisional patents before getting a patent?

Many people apply for a provisional patent first because they cost less and they don't have to comply with the strict requirements of a non-provisional application. Also, once an inventor applies for a provisional patent, he can use the words "patent pending" on his invention, as well as any packaging or accompanying materials.

While many inventors will need the assistance of an attorney to file a non-provisional patent application, many will not need one to fill out and file a provisional patent application, but some inventors still opt for the help of an attorney to do it for them.

Why Do Inventors Patent Their Invention?

As we mentioned previously, inventors patent their inventions so that they can prevent others from copying their ideas and inventions. Once an inventor patents his invention, he is able to exclusively make, sell, and import his invention while restricting competitors from using his invention. We hope this article answered any questions about why people get patents. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


How to buy a patent that has expired in the us

How to Buy Expired Patents

Patents are a form of intellectual property that allows an inventor to exclusively use the item they've patented. Patents in the US are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) after submitting your completed patent application. Once the patent examiner reviews and approves your application, a patent is granted to you. That said, patents don't last forever, so how do you purchase an expired patent? This article will detail the steps you need to take to buy an expired patent.

To keep a utility patent from expiring, an inventor must make maintenance payments on the patent, however sometimes inventors don't make these mandatory payments, causing a patent to expire or lapse. If the patent lapses, this creates an opportunity for you to purchase the expired patent. So, how exactly do you go about purchasing an expired patent? We will cover this in more detail below.

When Can you Buy an Expired Patent?

If you're looking to buy an expired patent, it's important to know that utility patents typically expire at 4, 8, and 12 years after the USPTO issues them. To be exact, utility patents expire 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years into the patents life, but the USPTO offers a six month grace period, allowing the patent owner a grace period to pay the required maintenance fees.

If the patent owner chooses to renew their patent by making the maintenance fees within the 6 month period, the patent is renewed and will not lapse (expire).

How to Buy an Expired Patent?

You can buy an expired patent by performing a patent search through the USPTO website (more on this later) and checking to see if the patent has expired. Once you find a patent that has expired and you want to buy, you can go ahead and contact the patent owner to negotiate purchasing the patent.

Utility patents typically last for 20 year and often times patent holders don't want to pay the periodic maintenance fees that are required to keep their patent live, as a result, many may list their patent for sale.

This is an opportunity for you to contact them and negotiate with them to purchase their patent. If you're successful and the patent holder agrees to sell you their patent, you can reinstate the patent by paying the past due maintenance fees and paying a surcharge.

For the USPTO to revive a patent that has lapsed, an individual will have to pay $850 to $1,700. If you are considered to be a small entity, you will only have to pay $850. Individual inventors and small businesses that have under 500 employees are considered as small entities, and will only have to pay $850 to reinstate a lapsed patent.

In addition to this charge, you will have to pay past-due maintenance fees to revive a lapsed patent. Here are the maintenance fees you may have to pay if you're individual inventor or you're a business with no more than 500 employees:

  • 3.5 Years: $800
  • 7.5 Years: $1,800
  • 11.5 Years: $3,700

Can you Refile an Expired Patent?

If a patent has expired after reaching the 20 year mark, you can still contact the patent owner and negotiate a sale. You may be able to buy the invention and all right associated with the patent, however you will not be able to refile or renew the patent. This is so because patents are only good for 20 years and cannot be renewed past that date.

After a utility patent has been in place for 20 years or a design patent for 15 years, the invention becomes part of the public domain, meaning that the patent holder can no longer exclude others from using, making, and selling the invention. Said differently, you can use, make, sell, and import the invention because it no longer enjoys protection.

Summary For How to Find and Buy Expired Patents

Here is a quick summary of the steps you can follow to find and purchase an expired patent. If you want a more detailed step-by-step list on how to find and buy expired patents, see the section below.

  • Search the USPTO Patent Database for Patents
  • See instructions below how to search list of patents
  • Select the date range of the patents you're interested in
  • Copy the patent number
  • Retrieve patent information from Public Patent Information System
  • Contact the patent owner if you're interested in the patent they hold

How to Find Expired Patents?

Here is one way to find and purchase expired patents:

1) USPTO Patent Database

Head over to the USPTO Advanced Patent Search here

2) Input Title

Input the title of the patent you're searching for. For example, if you are searching for patents relating to "bottles", you would use the following text:

ttl/(bottles)

Once you hit the search button, you will see the following results related to bottles:

3) Date Range

Set a date range for the issue date of the patent to narrow down your search. If you want to search for patents relating to bottle that are issued within a certain time-frame, you would use the following search query:

ttl/(bottles) and
isd/11/1/1997->5/12/2014

To set your own date range, replace the dates in the search query above. For example if you want to search for patents relating to bottles, issued between March 1, 2000 to April 5, 2018, you would use the following search query:

ttl/(bottles) and
isd/03/1/2000->4/5/2018

4) Copy the Patent Number

5) Public Patent Application Information

Head over here to access the Public Patent Application Retrieval system.

Once you have accessed the system, click on the option to search by patent number and enter the patent number you retrieved from the previous step.

6) Check to See if Patent Expired

If you find that the status of the patent has expired, you will be able to contact the buyer to see whether they're willing to sell it. Here are two examples, one where the patent has expired and one where the patent is still in effect.

Expired Patent

Here is an example of a patent that has not expired...

Patent Not Expired

How to Buy an Expired Patent?

Once you've located a patent that has expired, you can use the methods we've detailed above to contact and negotiate the sale of the patent with the patent holder. Like we mentioned previously, if the patent has lapsed for non-payment of maintenance fees, you will have to pay those fees, as well as an additional charge of $850 to reinstate the patent.

Remember that utility patents last for 20 years from the filing date of the patent and design patents last for 15 years from the date the patent is granted. Although you may be able to reinstate the patent, buying it will not extend the term of the patent.

That said, some patents expire because the patent term has ended. For those of you who are new to patents, patent term refers to the 20 year validity date of patents. After 20 years of filing a patent, patents expire and once they expire they become part of the public domain. When they become part of the public domain, you can use, manufacture, sell, and import the invention that was once protected without having to contact the patent holder (basically, they are free to use without anyone's permission).

So, if you wanted to copy the expired patent that we referenced above, you could probably do so without even contacting or taking permission from the patent owner. That said, it's always a good idea to consult with your attorney before copying someone else's expired or abandoned patent because there is a chance that the inventor may have filed other patents that are related to the one you're looking, so keep an eye out for such circumstances.

Benefits of Purchasing Expired Patents

  • Buying an expired patent provides you with the rights of the original patent holder provided that you pay the overdue maintenance fees and reinstatement fees.
  • When a patent expires, the buyer will be able to reinstate the patent by paying the outstanding maintenance fee and paying a reinstatement fee.
  • Buying an expired patent save you the hassle of having to invent and patent the invention yourself. You only have to purchase the patent, pay outstanding fees, and the patent is yours. You can spend your time improving and marketing the invention you just purchased.
  • If you happen to purchase a design patent or plant patent, you'll be happy to know that you won't need to pay any maintenance fees. Also, design patents last for 15 years from the day they're granted, while plant patents last for 20 years from the patent application's filing date.

Cons of Purchasing Expired Patents

  • The maintenance and reinstatement fees associated with patents can be huge if they have not paid for a long period of time. You have to determine whether it makes sense for you to purchase an expired patent by paying the outstanding maintenance fees and reinstatement fees.
  • Expired patents are sometimes involved in legal battles and lawsuits.
  • Please note that as patents move through 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years, the outstanding maintenance fees will continue to pile up, often presenting thousands of dollars of fees.
  • Patent trolls will often purchase expired patents by purchasing old patents and using them to sue other patent holders for patent infringement.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Buy Expired Patents?

1) When Do Patents Expire?

To determine when a patent expires, you have to determine what type of patent you're dealing with. Utility patents expire 20 years from the patent application filing date. Design patents expire 15 years from the patent grant date. Plant patents expire 20 years from the patent application filing date.

2) What are Maintenance Fees?

Maintenance fees are fees that are mandated by the USPTO. They are classified into three periods: E1, E2, and E3, they occur at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years. If a patent holder does not pay these fees on time, they have a 6 month grace period to pay, if they do not pay, the patent expires for non-payment of maintenance fees.

3) How Much are the Maintenance Fees?

Maintenance fees increase as the patent ages. At 3.5 years, you will have to pay $800, at 7.5 years you will have to pay $1,800, and at 11.5 years you will have to pay $3,700. If the patent has expired, there are more fees to pay.

4) What happens when you pay the third maintenance fee?

Once you have paid the final maintenance fee at year 11.5, the patent will be valid for the full patent term of 20 years from the its filing date.

5) Do I Need a Lawyer When Purchasing an Expired Patent?

While you can talk to and negotiate the sale of a patent on your own, it's recommended that you consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction because sometimes there are additional patents related to the one you're trying to purchase and this could lead to trouble down the road. So, talking to an attorney is a good idea and may save you some money and trouble down the road.

How to Purchase an Expired Patent?

We have detailed the steps you will need to take to purchase an expired patent. We have also given the pros and cons of purchasing an expired patent. If you have any general questions or comments on how to buy an expired patent, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


How long does it take to get a design patent in the us

How Long Does it Take to Get a Design Patent?

When people talk about patents, most of the time they're thinking about utility patents, which protect products, processes, and inventions. But there is another important category known as a design patent. Design patents protect the aesthetic or ornamental design of an article (how a product looks). Now that you know what a design patent is, how long does it take to get a design patent?

According to data from the USPTO, it currently takes 20.4 months to get a design patent approved (2019).

Most applicants will receive their first office action pendency within 13.8 months of filing their design patent application with the USPTO.

Who Should Get a Design Patent ?

You should get a design patent if you want to protect the unique design or look of your product. To qualify for a design patent the shape and appearance of your product must be new and unique. Design patents grant the patent holder the exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the specific patented design or article of manufacture.

You will be able to prevent others from copying and using your design on their products only after the USPTO grants your design patent. Prior to granting your design patent, you will not be able to enforce your rights.

What Protection Do You Get with a Design Patent ?

With a design patent, the patent holder will be able to prevent others from using, making, selling, or importing a product that has the same or similar designs to the one you've patented. To prevent others you will have to show that an ordinary observer might purchase the infringing product thinking it was your patented product.

The U.S Supreme Court established the ordinary observer standard back in 1872 in a case involving a design patent on a set of silverware handles. The ordinary observer in this circumstances is one who is a retail purchaser of that particular type of good at the setting where the product is typically sold and not an expert in the field, who will be less likely to be fooled by the infringing product.

How Long do Design Patents Last in the US ?

According to the USPTO, design patents last for 15 year from date the USPTO grants your design patent. For example, if you apply for a design patent on January 15th, 2019 and the USPTO grants your design patent on April 20th, 2019, your design patent is good for 15 years from April 20th 2019, meaning it will expire 15 years later on April 20th, 2034.

How Long Does it Take to Draft a Design Patent Application ?

If a designer has all of the details of the design they are seeking to patent, design patents it will typically take an attorney between 1 week to 4 weeks to draft the application.

The amount of time required to draft a design patent application depends on the complexity of the design you're trying to protect. The more complex the design, the more time it may take for you or your attorney to draft the application.

Also, it depends on the amount and quality of information the designer supplies to their attorney prior to drafting the application. While your attorney drafts the application, if you want them to make adjustments to the application, this will add to how long drafting the application takes.

Who Can File a Design Patent?

The inventor(s) can file a design patent application. Filing the application with the correct inventor(s) will reduce the amount of time you need to get a design patent because if you list incorrect inventors, the patent examiner might reject your application, causing easily avoidable delays.

Inventors of a design are not required to live in the United States, but if the inventor is from somewhere other than the US, they can work with a patent attorney licensed in the US to file their design patent application.

This is typically done by having the international inventor signing a power of attorney, authorizing a licensed attorney in the U.S to work on their patent application.

Trademarks vs Design Patents (Which One Should you Get ?)

Trademarks are different from design patents in that trademarks are used to identify the source of goods or services. Whereas design patents are not used to identify the source of goods or services, but rather to protect the design itself.

To qualify for a design patent, you will have to show that the design you're seeking to protect is novel (new/never been used before). With trademarks, you don't necessarily have to show that your mark is new, but rather it's being used by consumers to identify a specific person or company as the source of the product.

If the design of an object is embodied in a physical article, the design could be protected by both a design patent, as well as a trademark. Courts have held that that "patent rights are separate and distinct from those pertaining to trademarks, and that they are not dependent on each other." Source

Design Patents vs Utility Patents (Which One Should you Get ?)

Utility patents are typically used to protect the functional aspects of invention. Utility patents can be used to protect a variety of ideas that include processes, business methods, machines, software, and pharmaceuticals.

That said, for the USPTO to grant your utility patent, no one must have patented the idea you're seeking to patent. Design patents, on the other hand are much easier to get than utility patents, but they can only be used to protect the way an object looks and not its mechanical structure.

Both design patents and utility patents are subject to examination by the USPTO, the examination includes a prior art search. Design patents last for 15 years from the date the USPTO grants the patent while utility patents last for 20 years from the filing date of the patent application.

In many circumstances, you will be able to obtain a utility patent and a design patent for the same invention. To obtain both patents on the same item, you will have to satisfy both the requirements for design and utility patents.

What are the Requirements to Get a Design Patent?

To get a design patent you have to meet the following requirements:

1) Article of Manufacture

To get a patent on your design, the design must be for an "article of manufacture." Said differently, the design that you want to protect must be applied to an object. You cannot patent what is merely a design. For example, applying the design to a shirt or a canvas will satisfy the requirement of applying it to an article of manufacture.

Another example is a computer-generated icon that's viewable on a computer monitor. The icon itself is not eligible for a design patent, but when you claim it as an embodiment on a computer monitor, the combination of the icon and display is patentable under 35 U.S. Code § 171.

2) Originality

Your patentable design must be original, meaning that the USPTO will only grant your patent if your design is different from any known objects, personal, or naturally occurring forms. That said, you can "reassemble" or "rearrange" familiar designs to create your new design. You are basically trying to satisfy the requirement that your design is new and nonobvious (not already known).

3) Novelty

The design you're trying to patent must be novel (new) according to 35 U.S. Code § 171. When the USPTO goes to evaluate your design, they will use what they call the "average observer test." Under this test, the appearance of the design from the perspective of the average, ordinary observer must be different from the appearance every other prior design. Said differently, your design has to be different from anything out there.

4) Nonobvious

According to 35 U.S. Code § 171 the design you're trying to patent must be "nonobvious." Courts have interpreted the standard of obviousness to mean that "a designer of ordinary skill of the article (design) involved would have found the design as a whole to be obvious at the time the design was invented." This standard is very similar to the obviousness standard that's used for utility patents.

5) Ornamentality

To patent a design, the design must be "ornamental." Courts continue to do debate what "ornamental" means so we will do our best to explain it as clearly as possible. "Ornamental" requires the design to be aesthetically pleasing or attractive, something that is the product of an artistic conception. The design must not be essential to the use of the article. If it is essential to an article's use, it cannot be the subject of a design patents. It seems that the courts do not want people using design patents to protect the functional aspects of an invention.

6) Drawings

As part of your design patent application, you must attach at least 7 figures showing the design you want to patent. All 7 of these figures must be isometric (3D) and you must includes photos of the front, back, left side, right side, top, and bottom. You can add more photos if the figures don't completely cover how the design looks. Similar to utility patents, you can just take photos of the design, you have to comply with the USPTO drawing requirements. The best way to comply with these requirements is to go a person who is familiar with the USPTO drafting requirements to draft the figures that meet their requirements.

Completing and filing a patent application that meets all of the requirements will reduce the amount of time it takes you to get your design patent.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Design Patent?

Currently, it costs $50 to $200 to file your design patent application. If you're an individual inventor, it will cost you $50 to file your application but if you're a business it will cost more.

If you need the assistance of an attorney to file your design patent application, you will have to spend between $2,500 to $3,500 for them to draft and file your application.

If the USPTO grants (approves) your design patent application, you will need to pay an issuance fee that ranges from $175 for an individual person and goes up to $700, depending on the size of your business.

How Long Does a Design Patent Search Take?

Before filing your design patent application, you will have to perform a prior art search, which basically means that you'll have to search the design patent database to see if anyone has patented a design that's similar to yours. Design patent searches take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days to perform. This really depends on your attorney's experience and the complexity of your design.

How Many Designs Can You Get Using One Application?

U.S Law only permits you to patent one design per design patent application. The USPTO may allow very small variations of your design on the same patent, but you're unlikely to get protection for more than one design. If you want to patent a different design, you will have to file a separate design patent application.

How Long Do Design Patents Take?

As previously mentioned, design patents currently (2019) take 20.4 months from the date you file your design patent application until the USPTO grants your design patent. Of course the time it takes the patent office to grant a design patent is different from one case to another, some cases take longer, while others can take less time. If you found this article helpful, please leave any general comments on how long design patents take in the comments section below.


How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent Pending

If you're in the process of working on an invention, it's probably crossed your mind that you want to label your invention as patent pending while you finish working or while you apply for your patent.

To get patent pending status all you have to do is file a provisional or nonprovisional (regular) patent application with United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Filing either of these will give you patent pending status immediately.

The moment you file a provisional or nonprovisional patent application with the USPTO, you will be able to immediately label your invention, its packaging, and accompanying materials with the words "patent pending."

How Long Does Patent Pending Last?

Like we previously mentioned, you can label your invention or product as patent pending the moment you file your patent application. So, how long does it last? Patent pending status lasts until the patent office grants your patent or if you fail to file your non-provisional patent application with 12 months of filing your provisional application.

This is so because provisional application are placeholders in time only, they do not mature into a patent, so you will have to file a regular patent application to continue using your patent pending status.

If you file a non-provisional patent application within 12 months of filing your provisional patent application, you will be able to continue using your patent pending until the USPTO either grants or denies your patent application or you abandon the application.

If the USPTO grants your patent application (hopefully they do), you can no longer use the words patent pending, instead you can market it as "patented." If on the other hand, the USPTO denies your application, you will have to stop using the words "patent pending" immediately.

That said, if you choose not to file a provisional patent application and instead file a regular, non-provisional patent application, you will also be able to immediately enjoy patent pending status, enabling to label your invention and its marketing materials with patent pending.

How to Use Patent Pending

You can use patent pending on your product or process once you have a pending patent application at the USPTO. To use the designation on your invention, you must have not abandoned your application and the patent office must not have yet granted your patent. Your patent pending status starts at the moment you file your patent application. To use patent pending, you can write it on your product or its materials. Below are some examples of how you can write patent pending.

Patent pending can be used for:

  • Provisional Utility Patents
  • Non-provisional Utility Patents
  • Design Patents
  • Plant Patents

How to Write Patent Pending on Product

You can indicate that your product or invention is patent pending by adding the following text to your product:

  • Patent Pending ########
  • Patent Pending
  • Patents Pending
  • Pat. Pend.
  • Pat. Pend. ########
  • U.S Pat. Pend.
  • U.S Patent Pending
  • Patent Applied For

What are the Requirements to File a Provisional Patent Application to Get a Patent Pending?

The cheapest and easiest way to get a patent pending is to file a provisional patent application. The USPTO charges $70 to file your PPA, just remember that your PPA will not be examined by a patent examiner, it only acts as a placeholder for a regular patent application. That said, when filing your PPA, you will need to include the following information:

  • Cover Sheet
  • A written description of the invention or product you're seeking patent pending status
  • Include any necessary drawings
  • Pay the USPTO's filing fees

The great thing about using a provisional patent application to secure patent pending status is that they do not require a detailed discussion of prior art (already patented inventions). Also, you will not need to make any claims for your invention, making claims is the most difficult part you'll encounter while filling out a regular patent application.

When writing the description for your provisional patent application, you can use layman terms to describe your invention. You can and should use as much technical terminology as is necessary to describe your invention so that someone in the field of your invention can understand how to use your invention.

The description of your invention should include the following information:

  • Descriptive Title for your invention
  • Explanation of the purpose your invention serves
  • Include & describe any drawings of your invention
  • Describe the components and steps your invention takes to achieve its purpose
  • Explain how your invention carries out the steps
  • Explain how someone would use your invention
  • Best mode of your invention
  • Explain the advantages of using your invention
  • Include any alternatives ways your invention can achieve its desired results

Filing your provisional patent application is the easiest and quickest way to secure your patent pending status, as well as securing an early filing date. By securing an early filing date, you are protecting yourself from subsequently filed patent applications that are the same or similar to yours.

You can file your provisional application by mailing your application and supporting materials via U.S Mail or by filing it online using the USPTO website.

If you file your application online, you can immediately begin using patent pending status because the USPTO will immediately confirm that it has received your application and it will assign a serial number to your patent application. You can use the serial number on your product.

That said, if you mail your application, do not use patent pending on your invention or product before you get a confirmation that the USPTO received your application.

Benefits of Patent Pending Status

The main benefit of having patent pending status is that it allows you to market your product or invention to investors as a patent pending product, making it more attractive to them because the status gives you credibility and shows that you're proactively seeking legal protection.

The second benefit is that you will no longer have to make third parties, such as people helping you with your invention or investors to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

The third benefit of having patent pending status is that it affords you more time to work on and perfect your invention before filing a regular patent application, which is very time consuming and has strict requirements that must be follow to a T.

Now that we've covered the benefits of patent pending status, does patent pending status offer any legal protection?

Patent Pending Protection

While your patent is pending, you generally do not have any legal rights, meaning you cannot sue someone for infringing upon your patent because you don't have a patent yet.

That said, if the USPTO grants your patent application, you will be able to sue someone who infringes upon your patent in Federal Court. When suing, you can recover damages that you sustained while your patent is pending. This is so because once your patent is granted, it's effective from your earliest filing date.

Once you're patent issues and is no longer pending, you will be able to restrict others from using, making, selling, or importing your invention without your permission.

Patent Pending Notice

You can use the patent pending on your product, marketing materials, website or other materials that are related to your patent pending product. Even though you aren't required to label your product as patent pending, labeling them is a good idea because it warns third parties that you have filed a patent application for your product and that you may receive a patent for it. This sends a message to third parties that want to copy your product that they may be liable for damages if they copy your product.

When Can't you Use Patent Pending

You cannot use patent pending on your invention or product if you or your attorney has not applied for a provisional or nonprovisional patent. Also, you should not use patent pending if the USPTO denies your patent application. You can only use patent pending while you're waiting for the patent office to approve or deny your application.

Do not use patent pending in the following situations:

  • USPTO has issued a final rejection of your patent application
  • You have abandoned your patent application
  • The USPTO has granted your patent
  • You have simply contacted an attorney to fill out your application
  • You have only drafted your patent application and have not yet filed it

Using patent pending on your products in any of the previously mentioned situations is against the law. See 35 U.S.C 292 (False Marking). Also, you may be subjected to paying a penalty of no more than $500. So, make sure that you're only marking products or processes that are covered by your application as patent pending.

Also, make sure that the patent pending notice is true and accurate, you should place the notice in visible area, such as the product itself, product packaging, marketing marketing materials, websites, or any other places related to your product.

How Long Can a Patent be Pending

Patents usually remain pending for 1 to 3 years. However, it's not unheard of for some patents in congested technology groups (example: software patents) to remain pending for 3 to 5+ years until the USPTO either grants the application or the applicant abandons the application.

Things to Remember

Filing a non-provisional patent does not always result in a patent. The USPTO can deny your application for a variety of reasons. Although some countries will give you a patent for almost anything, the U.S is not one of those countries. The USPTO currently (2019) has 554,756 patents pending, so the processing times are pretty long, with the average patent taking 24+ months to be approved. So, your patent may be pending for 2 years before it's actually approved.

Frequently Asked Patent Pending Questions

1) Can I label my product as patent pending while I prepare to file my patent application?

Absolutely not, you should not label your product as patent pending before filing your patent application with the USPTO. Labeling your product as patent pending without having filed your patent application is against the law and you are subject to a $500 fine.

2) Can I sue someone who's selling a product that similar to the one I have a patent pending for?

While your patent is pending, you cannot sue for patent infringement, you will only be able to sure if the patent office grants your patent application. When the USPTO grants your application, you will be able to restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing your invention without your express consent.

3) Should I sell my product before getting a patent pending?

Protecting your product by first applying for a patent is the best thing to do before selling your product. You should consult with your attorney to ensure that your product does not infringe on another person's patent.

4) What is a provisional application for a patent?

A provisional patent application offers a way to get your patent pending status. However, provisional patents only give you 12 months of patent pending status, to extent your patent pending status, you have to apply using a non-provisional (regular) patent application.

Time it Takes to Get Patent Pending

We hope that this article answered any questions you had about how long it will take you to get patent pending status for your invention. We covered many of the most frequently asked questions about the time required for patent pending, as well as the requirements for a patent pending. As you know by now, you can get patent pending status fairly quickly by filing a provisional or nonprovisional patent application with the USPTO. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.


How long does it take to get a patent in the us

How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent

If you've invented something new, you're probably wondering how long it's going to take to patent your invention. The amount of time that it takes to get your patent from the USPTO depends on a variety of factors that we will discuss in this article. We know that you want to get your patent approved as quickly as possible, so we will answer how long it currently takes to get a patent on your invention.

Protecting your intellectual property by patenting your invention or process is one of the most important things that you can do if you want to profit from your invention. Once the USPTO grants your patent application, you will be able to restrict others from making, selling, or importing your invention to the United States.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent?

The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) has a tool that shows how long it can take to get a patent. According to the USPTO, it takes approximately 24 months to get a patent in 2019. The time it takes to get your patent approved depends on the complexity of your invention and the number of pending applications. The more complex your invention, the longer it will take to get your application approved.

Why Are Patents Important?

Patents are important because they give you control over your invention. By patenting your invention, you will be able select who makes, uses, sells, or imports your invention to the United States.

In addition to control, you will be able to exclusively use your patented invention for 20 years from your filing date.

Also, by patenting your invention, you will have superior rights over subsequent people who are seeking to patent an invention that's similar to yours.

Once your patent is granted by the USPTO, you will be able to sell or license your patent to third parties. Licensing your patent can be a great way to profit from your invention without having to spend your time and resources bringing the invention to market.

Time it Takes to Get a Patent

The time it takes to get a patent depends on the following factors, just remember the time it takes varies from one application to another, but here's what you should expect:

1) Time it Takes to Perform a Preliminary Inquiry (1 to 7 days)

Before filing your patent application, attorneys typically make a cursory inspection at whether (A) your invention has patentable subject matter, (B) your invention is useful or serves some purpose, (C) your invention is new, (D) your invention is nonobvious.

2) Time it Takes to Perform a Patent Search (1 Week to 4 Weeks)

Once your attorney determines that your invention is worthy of further investigation, they will usually perform an in-depth search, looking for patents that are the same as or similar to yours. Attorneys perform this search to ensure that your patent will not infringe upon the patents of others.

The time it takes to perform a patent search depends on the complexity of your invention, as well as the number of claims you're making in your patent application. The more claims, the more research that needs to be done.

Also, the time it takes to perform a search depends on your attorney's workload and the amount of information that you've provided to your attorney. The more organized the information, the less work your attorney will have to do.

3) Time it Takes to Draft Your Patent Application (1 Week to 4 Weeks)

Once you or your attorney has completed the patent search and the search did not turn up inventions that are the same or similar to yours, it's time to start drafting your patent application. Typically, an attorney will spend 1 week to 4 weeks drafting your patent application.

The time it takes to draft the application depends on the type of patent you're applying for, the information you've supplied to your attorney, the complexity of your invention, and the changes you make to your application.

If you completed your patent application by yourself, you should contact an attorney who can look over it to make sure that you've complied with all of the requirements set forth by the USPTO. If you don't have the money to have a lawyer look over your application, review it and make sure everything is properly filled out because the patent examiner will not hesitate to reject your application for seemingly minor errors.

Once you've filed your provisional or non-provisional patent application, you will immediately be able to market your invention or product as "patent pending."

4) Time it Takes your Patent From the Filing Stage to Acceptance (12 months to 24 months)

The type of patent application (provisional or non-provisional) will affect how long it takes the USPTO to accept your application. If you filed a provisional patent application, your application will not be examined by a patent examiner, instead you will have 12 months to file your non-provisional patent application. During the 12 months, you will be able to advertise your product or invention as "patent pending."

If you filed a (regular) non-provisional patent application, the average wait time according to the USPTO is 17 months for your first office action and 24 months to get your patent. The time it takes the USPTO to examine and grant or reject your patent application depends on many of the factors we will list below.

Factors Affecting How Long it Takes to Get Your Patent After Filing

After filing your patent application, the length of time it takes for the USPTO to grant your patent varies significantly. The USPTO groups patent application based on the invention's art unit (technology group). Some technology groups have longer or shorter wait times than others.

Some technology groups tend to have more patent applications in queue than other technology groups and the patent applications that are assigned to the technology units with more patent applications will wait longer to have a patent examiner exam the application and ultimately issue the patent.

If you file a provisional patent application instead of the regular utility patent application, the USPTO will not place your application in the examination queue.

While provisional patent applications are not examined, they do not mature into patents. To get a patent, you'll have to file a non-provisional patent application within 12 months of filing your provisional application. For example, if you filed your provisional application on January 10, 2019, you will have to file your non-provisional application by January 10, 2020.

If you filed a non-provisional patent application within 12 months of filing your provisional application, you will have to add 12 months to the wait times we mentioned above, so instead of your patent application taking 24 months, it will take 36 months from the date you first filed your provisional patent application.

How Much Time Does it Take to Get a Patent Through Track One?

The USPTO offers priority examination known as Track One. Only utility patents and plant patents are eligible for this prioritized service. If you opt for track one service, the USPTO will do it's best to give you either a final rejection or approval within 12 months.

That said, the USPTO claims that it is currently able to provide a final decision in some circumstances within only 6 months of filing your non-provisional patent application and being accepted to One Track.

Although skipping the line to get your invention prioritized sounds like a great idea, it comes at a large cost. Track One costs anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 in addition to the regular filing fees charged by the USPTO.

To get your patent processed more quickly, you'll need to fill out a Track One request form, using the EFS Web Filing Tool. Remember that getting accepted into the Track One program is not automatic and the spaces are limited to 10,000 applications per year.

It's important to note that One Track does have some restrictions:

  • You cannot make more than 4 independent claims to be eligible for One Track
  • You're not eligible for One Track if your application make multiple dependent claim
  • You cannot make more than 30 claims
  • Track One is limited to 10,000 applicants per fiscal year

Currently, to get a patent using one track, you will have to wait approximately 2.5 months to get your first office action and 6.5 months to get a final ruling either rejecting or granting your patent application.

Always remember that your application may take a long or shorter time depending on your unique case.

Patent Pending Before you Get Your Patent

Once you've filed your patent application but before it's approved, you will have patent pending status. While your waiting for the USPTO to hopefully approve your application, you can use, make, sell, and license your product or invention. But remember, at this point the USPTO has not granted you a patent, so you cannot restrict others from using, making, or selling an invention that's the same or similar to yours. Once your application is granted, you can take legal action against anyone who infringes upon your patent.

What Happens if Your Patent is Rejected?

If the USPTO rejects your patent application, you're not completely out of luck. You can respond by explaining to the examiner why they are wrong. Usually, the examiner will cite references which are typically others patents and explain why your invention is not new or doesn't meet a certain requirement.

You will have an opportunity to respond to the patent examiner by fixing the claims, amending the claims, or you can try arguing to persuade the examiner that you are correct and they are mistaken.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long it Takes to Get a Patent

1) Why is it Taking so Long to Get my Patent?

Your patent is taking long because at any given moment, the USPTO has a backlog of hundreds of thousands of pending patent application. As of June 2019, the patent office has 553,756 pending patent application and only 8,174 patent examiners to examine the applications. Patent examiners have an enormous workload that they have to cope with.

That said, some technology fields, such as software patents take even longer because of the lack of examiners who are experienced in the area. Additionally, many applicants go back and forth negotiating with the patent examiner, this adds to the considerably long wait times.

2) What Can I Do to Get my Patent More Quickly?

In some limited cases, the USPTO may look at several factors when determining whether to speed up the process:

  • The invention's importance to society
  • Applicant's health
  • Applicant's age

3) Does Contacting the USPTO Help Speed Up Getting My Patent?

Contacting the patent office is not likely to speed up your patent, but it will tell the patent office that you're not abandoning your patent application. Also, by contacting them you'll know what's being done to your application, enabling you to more quickly fix issues that arise.

4) How Many Patent Application are Filed Per Year?

According to statistics from the USPTO, 629,647 are filed annually. From the 629,647 that are filed 325,979 are granted each year, meaning that 52% of filed patent applications are granted.

Broad Patent Claims Affect How Long it Takes to Get a Patent

While obtaining broader protection is a great thing, the more broad your application, the longer it's going to take to process your patent application. If you draft your you application too broadly, the patent examiner may disagree about whether it meets the patentability requirements set forth by the law.

As a result, you or your attorney may have to contact the patent examiner to explain to them why you deserve a patent. In some circumstances, you might even have to file and appeal to the USPTO Appeal Board to get your patent approved for your broadly drafted claims.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent Approved

Like we mentioned earlier, to get a patent you will likely wait 24 months for a straightforward invention. The time you will wait to get your patent depends on a variety of factors that we previously covered in this article. If you have any general questions or comments about how long it takes the USPTO to grant your patent application, please drop them in the comments section below.


how to get a patent on your idea or invention

How to Get a Patent?

If you have an invention or idea you're probably wondering "How do I get a patent?" You've come to the right place, we will explain the different types of patent available to you, as well as how much they cost, how you can get one, and the stops on how to file a patent application with the USPTO. This article will also cover how to get a utility patent, design patent, and provisional patent.

If you have a great idea that you believe may be commercially successful once it's produced, you mat be asking yourself how you can protect that idea or invention from those who may steal your idea and copy it?

The short answer is that you can protect yourself by patenting your invention. Patent protection allows you to restrict others from using, making, or selling your invention or product.

How Do I Get a Patent?

To get a patent you need to satisfy the requirements set forth by the USPTO. This means that your invention has to (1) have patentable subject matter, (2) your invention must be useful or serve some purpose, (3) it has to be novel (new), and (4) it must not be obvious.

Once you know that your invention or idea meets the requirements mentioned above, you can get a patent by filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Filing an application is a complex process that typically requires the help of a trained professional. That said, it's not unheard of to find someone who has successfully patented their invention on their own.

Different Types of Patents that you Can Get

Patents are a form of intellectual property rights granted to inventors to give them a monopoly over their invention for a limited period of time, usually up to 20 years for utility patents. Patents give patent owners the right to restrict others from using, making, or selling their invention without their permission.

You can get five types of patents from the USPTO:

  • Utility Patents. These are the most common type of patent applied for at the USPTO, making up more than 90% of patent application. Utility patents protect the functional aspect of an invention.
  • Design Patents. Design patents protect the aesthetic or ornamental appearance of a functional item. You can use design patents to protect things like the look of beverage bottles and jewelry.
  • Provisional Patents. If you don't have the money or are not ready to file a regular patent application, you can file a provisional patent application to secure an early filing date. Once you round up some investors or complete work on your invention, you can file your non-provisional (regular) patent application.
  • Software Patents. If you're looking to protect your software, you will need to apply for a utility patent to protect the functional aspects of your new software.
  • Plant Patents. These patents protect new species of asexually reproduced plants, such as flower or vegetables.

Why Should you Get a Patent?

You should get a patent for a number of reasons. If you want to profit from your patent you will need to protect your invention. Patents will give you the ability to prohibit others from making, selling, or importing your invention to the United States.

Patents also give you priority over people who seek to patent an invention that's the same or similar to yours. When you're the only person or business selling your invention, you might be able to corner the market and make tremendous amount of profits. Without patent protection, your competitors might replicate your product and compete with you. If you've patented your invention and someone else copies it, you can sue them for patent infringement and prohibit them from selling or making your invention.

Another reason you should get a patent is that you can market yourself or your business as an innovator that has developed inventions worthy of a patent from the USPTO. Having a patent can attract investors to invest in you or your company in exchange for the right to use a particular patent or set of patents.

Why Should you Not Get a Patent?

Although the benefits of getting a patent outweigh the negatives, we are going to share with you a couple of disadvantages of getting a patent.

If you get a patent, you will have to disclose specific, technical information about your patent to the public. This is a problem in circumstances where you want to keep some details about your invention secret.

Also, getting a patent is quite costly whether or not you succeed in getting your patent. The average cost to have an attorney file a patent application is around $7,500 for a simple invention. The price only goes up the more complex your invention.

Once you've filed for and been granted a patent, you can just sit back and expect the USPTO to enforce your patent. You will have to proactively look for and go after those who infringe upon your patent. To do so you'll likely need the assistance of a patent attorney and if you've ever dealt with one, you know how expensive they can be.

How to Protect Your Invention Before you Get a Patent?

You can protect your invention before you get a patent by keeping your invention a secret. For example, if you're working on your invention and you need the assistance of a third part, you can ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement. That said, confidentiality agreements aren't foolproof but they will reduce the possibility of your invention being stolen.

If someone breaks the confidentiality agreement by either stealing your idea or disclosing it to someone else, you will be able to take legal action against them. An attorney can draft a simple confidentiality agreement that will hopefully protect your invention.

What to do Before you Apply to Get a Patent?

Getting a patent can be costly and time consuming, so before you apply to get a patent, you might want to do some research to see if someone else has already patented your idea or invention.

Do the following before you begin the process to get a patent:

  • Begin by searching the USPTO patent database or any other patent search tools. We personally like Google Patents, the database is easy to use and most importantly it's free. Also, you might want to search the database for applied for patents to make sure that there is no one in the process of patenting an invention that's similar to yours.
  • Search Scientific Publications relevant to the field of your invention. You may also want to conduct an international patent search. After finishing your research you should know more about your patent, as well as similar patents that are out there.
  • If you find that conducting a patent search is overwhelming, you can always hire a patent attorney that can help you with your patent search.
  • While you're conducting your research, make note of inventions that are similar to yours, write down any differences between the two inventions. If you find that an invention is really similar to yours, it's a good idea to write down a detailed explanation how your invention is different or how it improves upon existing inventions.

Are you Ready to Get a Patent?

To get a patent, you have to have something that's more than just an idea. While you don't need a fully-functional prototype to patent your invention, you need to be able to provide the USPTO with a detailed description of how your invention works.

When filling out your patent application, you will need to provide enough details about your invention so that someone with average skills in the field of your invention would be able to understand and produce your invention.

If you've been tirelessly working on your invention, but you haven't perfected it yet, you can file a provisional patent application with the USPTO. The provisional patent application will allow you to secure an early filing date and will give you the ability to label your invention as "patent pending."

Patent pending status will place your competitor's on notice that you're actively seeking to protect your invention. Also, if you're looking for investors, patent pending status will show them that you have invented something that's worth patenting.

That said, provisional patent applications only last for 12 months from the date you file it. To get a patent, you'll need to file your non-provisional patent application within that 12 month period. If you fail to file a non-provisional patent application, the USPTO will consider your application as abandoned, and you will not be able to use patent pending on your product or invention.

While the provisional patent application does not require as much detail as a regular patent application, to get a provisional patent you will need to provide a description of your invention. Again, we have to remind you that provisional application only last for 12 months, they cannot be extended, so make sure you wrap up work on your invention within that time and that you file a non-provisional patent application to get your patent.

Can you Get a Patent Without an Attorney?

We personally know several inventors who have successfully navigated the U.S patent system to get their inventions patented. The good news for someone who wants to get a patent on their own is that the USPTO is required to help individual inventors who want to get a patent without an attorney's help.

Like we said previously, to get a patent you must make sure that your invention qualifies for a patent. Once you've done, you should file out your patent application and file it with the USPTO. Patenting an invention is not extremely hard, but it is somewhat complicated, you have to follow the rules very carefully.

If you do not follow the rules carefully, the USPTO may reject your patent application for seemingly minor mistakes. While there are some people who will tell you that you cannot get a patent without the help of attorney, they are mistaken, it just a skill that you need to develop.

That said, hiring an attorney can save you a lot of the heartache involved with filing your patent. Attorneys already know how to do the required research to get you the best possible patent protection.

Steps to Get a Patent

1) Describe Your Invention

The first hurdle you need to pass when seeking a patent is describing your invention. The USPTO does not allow people to patent only ideas. You need to explain how your invention works. You should explain what makes your invention new and how it's useful (i.e., what purpose does it serve or what problem does it address).

Once you have described your inventions, think about ways you can improve your invention. The more you know about your invention, the more you can protect. Also, think about the applications for your invention. Answering these questions will help you search for similar inventions and will allow you to protect the full scope of your invention.

2) Consider Whether your Invention will be Commercially Successful

Before submitting a patent application to get a patent, do some market research to see if anyone is interested in your invention. If you find someone who is interested in your invention and there's a market for it, it would make sense to invest your time and money in applying for a patent.

3) Choose the Appropriate Type of Protection

If for whatever reason you're not quite ready to file a full patent application, you can start off by filing a provisional patent application. Provisional patents give you a year to perfect your invention. Maybe there's something that's not working 100% the way you want, you can file a provisional application and once you've perfected your invention, you can file a regular (nonprovisional) utility patent application.

When looking at options to protect your invention, you may also want to protect the distinctive aesthetic features of your invention. You can do so by filing a separate design patent application with the USPTO.

As a reminder, utility patents protect the functional aspects (how your invention works) while design patents protect the unique look of your invention. Seeking both is a smart idea and will add value to your invention.

4) Fill Out & Submit Your Patent Application

This is the most important part of the process. The USPTO has a lot of rules that must be followed when filling out your patent application. Provisional applications are less complicated to fill out because they act as placeholders for the regular patent application. If you need help drafting your patent application, you can always seek the help of a patent attorney, but they don't come cheap. For a simple invention, expect to spend around $4,000 on an attorney who will draft and file your patent application. The $4,000 does not include filing fees. Filing fees will cost you another $75just to file your application.

5) Track the Status of Your Application

The USPTO currently has a backlog of patent applications, so don't expect to hear back from them for over a year. You should check the status of your application once or so a month to make sure that they don't need anything from you. Also, once a patent examiner is assigned to your application, they might approve it or reject it. If they reject your application, you will usually have an opportunity to file a response arguing against their reason for rejection.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Patent?

If you are a small inventor who wants to patent his new invention, here are is an example of the costs you may encounter to get a patent with the help of an attorney:

  • Patent Search by an attorney: $2,000
  • Filling out and preparing a provisional patent application: $2,500
  • Filing the patent application with the USPTO: $140
  • Non-provisional patent application after a provisional patent application: $10,000
  • Filing Fee for the non-provisional patent application: $150
  • Illustrations for non-provisional patent application: $500
  • Total Cost: $15,290

As you can tell, a significant portion of the cost to get a patent is the lawyer fees. If you want to go the do-it-yourself route, you could save a lot of money. Just remember that applying for a patent requires attention to detail, if you fit that description, you may be able to get a patent on your own.

How do you Get a Patent

We hope that this article helped answer some of the question that you have about how to get a patent, as well as how much it costs to get a patent. We listed the steps that you need to take to get your invention patented, as well as why you should patent your invention. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.


How much does patenting your invention cost?

How Much Does a Patent Cost?

If you've invented something new you're probably wondering how much does it costs to patent it? If that's you, you've come to the right spot because we will be discussing the costs associated with patenting your idea or invention. The cost of your patent will depend on the size of your business, as well as the complexity of your invention. We will give you a rough estimate as to how much patenting your invention will cost.

If you're seeking to apply for a patent for your invention your idea, you need to consider the cost associated with applying for a patent, as well as the fees associated with revising your patent application, prosecuting it, issuance costs, and the maintenance costs associated with keeping your patent alive.

How Much does it Cost to Get a Patent?

The cost of patenting your invention varies greatly depending on the complexity of your invention. Patents can cost anywhere from $1000 to $10,000+ depending on the type of patent and the complexity of your invention. If you're someone who wants to fill out the patent application and do it yourself, expect to spend around $1,000 just on filing fees alone. If you want the assistance of an attorney, expect to spend between $5,000 to $10,000+ on attorney's fees for filing your patent application.

Here is a list of the filing fees you should expect to pay for your utility, design, or plant patent:


USPTO Patent Application Fees 2019

Type of CostMicro Entity FeeSmall Entity FeeRegular Fee
Utility Patent Filing Fee
$75
$150
$300
Design Patent Filing Fee
$50
$100
$200
Plant Patent Filing Fee
$50
$100
$200
Provisional Application Filing Fee
$70
$140
$280
Utility Patent Search Fee
$165
$330
$660
Utility Patent Examination Fees
$190
$380
$760
Utility Patent Issue Fee
$250
$500
$1,000
Design Patent Issue Fee
$175
$350
$700
Plant Patent Issue Fee
$200
$400
$800

Now that we have covered the USPTO filing fees, you should know that you will have lawyer fees if you choose to have an attorney file your patent application, as well as drawing fees that you'll have to pay.

Here are some examples of how much it will cost to have an attorney file your non-provisional (regular) patent application:


Patent Application Attorney Fees

Type of Patent
Cost
Suitable For
Utility Patent
$5,000 to $15,000
Protection of a tangible product or thing
Design Patent
$2,500 to $3,500
Protection of the aesthetics or appearance of a functional item
Provisional Patent
$1,500 to $3,000
Gives you patent pending status while you develop your invention ot prepare a nonprovisional patent application
Plant Patent
$4,500 to $8,000
Protection for new types of asexually reproduced plants
Software Patent
$15,000+
Protection for new software

Please note that the fees you pay for your patent application may vary greatly depending on the complexity of your invention and your geographic location. Use these figures as a rough guide.

Patent Application Cost

Applying for a patent and prosecuting can be a costly process. The filing fees associated with a patent are a small part of the total cost to receive a patent. The table above gives you a good idea of how much you'll need to spending on filing fees.

Most of the patents that are filed with the USPTO are utility patents. Most of the cost associated with applying for a utility patent is the cost of paying an attorney to prepare the patent application.

Simple inventions usually cost a few thousand dollars while more complex inventions can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars.

If you are a single inventor and you have an invention that you want to patent, expect to spend $1,000 in filing fees and around $5,000 for an attorney to properly, and completely fill out your patent application. Please note that these fees will vary depending on the complexity of your invention.

In some circumstances, your attorney may need to communicate and negotiate your patent application with the USPTO. These cost of these negotiations and communications are costs you'll have to bear in addition to the fees associated with filing your patent application.

Responses by your attorney to the patent office can easily exceed a thousand dollars and you have to take into account that the patent office may reject your application several times before finally granting your patent. So, how do you reduce the costs associated with your patent application? You can choose the do-it-yourself route and try to manage things yourself. Read more below if you want to do it yourself.

Utility Patent Cost

Utility patents protect new, useful products, processes, machines, or improvements of them. Utility patents can cost from $5,000 to $15,000+, this cost includes attorney fees and maintenance fees. Here is the cost breakdown:

  • USPTO Filing Fees: $75 - $300
  • USPTO Search Fees: $165 - $660
  • USPTO Examination Fees: $190 - $760
  • USPTO Issue Fee: $250 - $1,000
  • Patent Maintenance Fees: $400 to $7,400
  • Attorney Fees: $3,000 to $10,000+

Utility parents are expensive because they have to include a detailed description of how the invention works. That said, utility patents are very important if you want to prevent others from using, selling, or importing your product or invention.

A big chunk of the cost associated with utility patents comes from the maintenance fees that have to be paid to keep your patent registration active. If you do not make maintenance payments on time, you will lose your patent.

Design Patent Cost

Design patents protect the aesthetics or ornamental design of a function item. For example, Coke has a patented the design of its Coca Cola Bottles. Generally, design patents costs anywhere between $2,500 to $3,500. These figures includes filing fees and attorney fees. Design patents last for 15 years from the date your design patent is granted. Here is the cost breakdown of a design patent:

  • USPTO Filing Fees: $50 - $200
  • USPTO Search Fees: $40 - $160
  • USPTO Examination Fees: $150 - $600
  • USPTO Issue Fee: $175 - $700
  • Maintenance Fees: Not Applicable to Design Patents
  • Attorney Fees: $1,500 - $3,500

Design patents applications are much easier to complete than utility patent applications. Utility patent applications must include drawings that illustrate the aesthetic or ornamental design that you're seeking to protect. Since they are less complicated than utility patents, they cost considerably less.

So if you have a unique design or shape of an invention that you want to protect, design patents are the way to go.

Plant Patent Cost

The USPTO allows inventors to patent new plant species that are asexually reproduced. The average cost of obtaining a plant patent ranges between $4,000 to $8,000, which includes filing fees, as well as attorneys fees. Plant patents last for 20 years from the date your field your patent application. Here is the cost breakdown for a plant patent:

  • USPTO Filing Fees: $50 - $200
  • USPTO Search Fees: $105- $420
  • USPTO Examination Fees: $155- $620
  • USPTO Issue Fee: $200 - $800
  • Maintenance Fees: Not Applicable to Plant Patents
  • Attorney Fees: $4,000 - $6,500+

Plant patents are the least sought after type of patent, making up less than 1% of all patent applications, but they could prove to be valuable to someone who has discovered a rare type of asexually reproduced plant.

Provisional Patent Cost

Provisional patents are sought by inventors to give their invention patent pending status to attract new investors. Sometimes inventors choose provisional patent application to reserve their priority date while they work on or perfect their invention. Here is the cost breakdown associated with provisional patent applications:

  • USPTO Filing Fees: $70 - $280
  • USPTO Search Fees: Not Applicable
  • USPTO Examination Fees: Not Applicable
  • USPTO Issue Fee: Not Applicable
  • Maintenance Fees: Not Applicable
  • Attorney Fees: $1,000 - $3,000

Provisional patents last for 12 months after which a non-provisional patent application needs to be filed for it to mature into an issued patent. If you don't file a nonprovisional patent application, your provisional patent will expire and you will lose your patent pending status.

Average Cost of a Patent

As you now know the average cost of a patent depends on the type of patent you're applying for and the complexity of your invention. If you apply for a patent yourself you can save some money and we will give you some tips on filing a patent application on your own.

That said, we all agree that patents are expensive (often hundreds to thousands of dollars) but you usually get what you pay for. To make sure you get the best patent possible, spending some time doing research and apply for the correct patent. There are many tools out there that will allow you to perform searches of prior patent so that you know you're the first to patent your invention.

Filing a Patent Application Yourself (Getting a Patent on Your Own)

We personally know a few inventors who have successfully patented their inventions on their own. The law requires the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to help inventors who are applying for a patent without the help of an attorney.

Filing your own patent application could cost a lot less than seeking an attorney's help, but know that it involves a lot of work and you won't have an experienced individual navigating the waters with you.

Before filing a patent application, you should do some research to find out if your idea or invention qualifies for a patent. Once you've determined that you have a patentable invention, fill out the application and make sure to follow the rules very closely.

A single mistake could cause a patent examiner to reject your application, costing you more time and money. There is a large number of minor mistakes that you could make that could get your application rejected, so be diligent and pay close attention to detail. Diligence and attention to detail will save you plenty of time and money down the road.

Here are some of the steps that you can follow to patent your idea or invention:

1) Keep a Record of Your Invention

Record every step that you take while you're in the process of inventing. Describe the functional aspects of your invention and every modification you make. You will also want to notate how you came up with the idea for the invention. If you have the resources, create and test a prototype of your invention. Document all of your efforts and the steps you took to make your invention work the way its supposed to.

2) Ensure that your Invention Qualifies for Patent Protection

There are some requirements that you will have to satisfy to patent your invention. You will have to show that your invention (1) has patentable subject matter, (2) it has a useful purpose, (3) it's new, and (4) your invention must not be obvious.

To meet the novel (new) requirement, your invention has to be different from all of the previous inventions in your field. Conducting a patent search to see if anyone has already patented your idea could save you time and money in trying to patent something that already exists because the patent examiner will reject it and unfortunately the filing fees you paid are not refundable.

3) Gauge the Commercial Success of your Invention

Doing some research to determine whether there is a market for your invention is something you should do before patenting your invention. Even if you are filing your patent application on your own, filing fees alone could cost hundred and even thousands of dollars.

The patent office may make rejections and you may have to communicate with the patent examiner and make modifications to your patent application, this all costs money, so just keep that in mind before you file your patent application.

4) Conduct a Thorough Search of Prior Art

Before applying for a patent, you should make sure that your invention is new and nothing like it exists. To do so, you must search prior art by searching U.S patents and scientific sources to find related inventions.

This part of the process is very time consuming, but at the end of a proper prior arts search, you'll have a good idea if your invention is new and deserves patent protection.

If you search comes up with inventions that are similar to your, you should show how your invention is different from them or how it improves upon them.

5) Prepare and File Your Patent Application with the USPTO

Once you have completed all the necessary research, you will find two types of patent applications. Provisional application and a nonprovisional (regular) application. Provisional patent applications expire after 12 months and are not examined by the USPTO.

The non-provisional application is the full fledged patent application that can mature into a patent. But some inventors choose to file provisional patent applications to add "patent pending" to their products to make them more attractive to investors.

How to Reduce the Cost of a Patent?

We will explore some great ways to reduce the cost of patenting your invention. You can reduce the costs associated with patenting by doing some of the legwork on your own, even before you approach an attorney to help you out. Here are some of the ways you can reduce your costs:

  • First Draft. Create the first draft of your patent application. This can reduce the amount of time an attorney spends on your application
  • Complete Your Invention. Before submitting a patent application, complete your invention. Finalizing your invention's details will help your attorney understand it quicker. The less time your attorney spends on your application, the less you have to pay them.
  • Detailed Explanation. Write down all of the details of your invention and explain them as clearly as possible to your attorney as this will reduce the time your attorney has to work on explaining your invention in the application.
  • File a Provisional Application. If you do not have the money to file a regular nonprovisional patent application, you can file a provisional application. This will save you money in the short term, but remember that you will have a year to file the regular application.

Example of Costs for a Patent

We have covered so much information as to how much patents cost that things may have become a little confusing. If you are a small inventor who wants to patent his new invention, here are is an example of the costs you may encounter:

  • Patent Search by an attorney: $2,000
  • Filling out and preparing a provisional patent application: $2,500
  • Filing the patent application with the USPTO: $140
  • Non-provisional patent application after a provisional patent application: $10,000
  • Filing Fee for the non-provisional patent application: $150
  • Illustrations for non-provisional patent application: $500
  • Total Cost: $15,290

Cost of a Patent

Hopefully this article did a good job at explaining the costs associated with patenting your invention. We covered the cost of a utility patent, design patent, plant patents, and a provisional patent. If you have any general questions or comments about how much a patent costs, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


What Does Patent Pending Mean?

You've probably purchased a product and saw the words "patent pending" on the packaging so you're wondering what does patent pending mean? Patent pending means that an inventor has filed a patent application to protect an idea or invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) but has not been granted a patent. After filing a utility, design, or plant patent application, the Patent Office gives you a patent pending serial number to alert the public that you're actively seeking to patent your product or invention.

Patent pending indicates that an inventor is seeking protection, but the scope of protection, or whether a patent will even issue is still undetermined.

Now that you know what patent pending means, you should know that while your patent is pending, you do not have a monopoly over your invention just yet. While your patent is pending at the patent office, an inventor will not be able to sue others for using, making, or selling his invention. An inventor gains the right to restrict others from making and selling his invention once the patent office grants his utility patent application.

You will legally be able to restrict others from using or selling your invention once the USPTO approves or otherwise grants your patent application. Once your patent issues, you can sue anyone who uses or sell your idea or invention.

Your Rights While Your Patent is Pending

While you can't legally enforce your patent to prohibit others from using, making, or profiting from your invention or idea while your patent is pending, you do have some rights. If you have a patent application that is pending, you do have some legal rights if someone else tries to patent something that's the same or similar to your invention.

If someone files a patent that's the same or similar to yours, the USPTO will examine each application and will give priority to the application that was first filed.

The filing date is very important in patent law because the United States has a first to file rule that gives priority to the person who first files their patent application. So, it's very important for you to file your patent application as soon as possible before anyone else does.

It's good practice not to disclose or talk about your invention with anyone before you patent it because if anyone knows the details of your invention, they might file an application with the USPTO before you get a chance. Unfortunately in the U.S even if you invented something first but filed second, the person filing first will have priority over you and could stop you from using or profiting from your own invention if the USPTO grants them a patent.

Provisional Patent Pending

The patent pending status is given when you file for a provisional patent, as well as a non-provisional patent. That said, if you first file a provisional patent application, to maintain your patent pending status, you will need to file a non-provisional patent application within 12 months of filing your provisional patent application. Failure to file a nonprovisional patent application will cause you to lose your patent pending status.

Patent pending status starts whether you file a provisional or nonprovisional patent application. The status ends when you abandon your patent application or your patent is granted.

Patent pending status can remain for a few years depending on the backlog of patent applications at the USPTO. Utility patents are currently taking 28 months on average.

Benefits of Patent Pending

Patent pending status is important for a few reasons that we will now cover.

#1) Patent Pending Alerts Competitors

The first advantage of having patent pending status is to alert other companies that you're in the process of obtaining a patent.

This can deter your competitors from trying to copy your invention. Most companies will not spend money to develop a competing product if they believe that they may infringe on a patent that you may receive in the future.

Without the patent pending status, your potential competitors will have no reasons to think that anyone will object to them copying your product and selling their own variation. Patent pending status may convince your competitors that copying your product or process is not worth the risk.

#2) Patent Pending Status Indicates a New and Inventive Product

The second advantage of patent pending status is that it indicates that your product is new and inventive. Patent pending status can do wonders for your marketing efforts because it invites both your potential customers and investors to believe that your product is special since you made the effort and spent your money to protect it by filing a patent application.

Also, once you've filed your patent application, the USPTO will assign you a patent pending serial number that you can add to your product, it's packaging, and accompanying materials, adding authenticity to your product.

#3) Patent Pending Status Helps you Build a Stronger Case Against Infringers

When you list "patent pending" or "patent applied for" on your product or it's packaging, you will have a stronger argument in court that the infringer's knowingly copied your invention or product. If you can show that an infringer willfully infringed upon your patent, you may be able to persuade the court to award you more damages.

That said, you cannot take legal action against anyone for infringing upon your patent before the patent office grants your patent application.

In some cases, you might even be able to get an injunction prohibiting another party from making or selling your invention, but courts are often hesitant to take any sort of legal action before your patent application is approved by the patent office.

#4) Patent Pending Indication Signifies Innovation

Patent pending notice can be used on a broader level to indicate that your company is innovative is coming up with new and important inventions that deserve legal protection. Also, this notice associates your company with innovation and tells potential customers and investors that you are serious about investing in new tech and protecting your creations.

Overall, notifying the public that you have a pending patent application has benefits, but it's important to balance the benefits with the potential risks. One of the risks you run by filing a patent application is that a competitors will patent around your claimed invention by designing and patenting a product that achieves a desired result differently. That said, some protection is better than none.

When Can you Use "Patent Pending" Status?

You can only write patent pending on your product or invention only after submitting your patent application to the USPTO. Once you've submitted your patent application you can decide whether to include "patent pending" on your product or its accompanying materials.

If you have not yet filed your patent application and do not plan on doing so, do not advertise your product as "patent pending." Fraudulently using the patent pending designation is against the law, so exercise caution when marking products or processes that are not covered by a pending patent application.

How to Get a Patent Pending

To get the patent pending status you can either file a provisional patent application or a non-provisional patent application with the USPTO. Provisional patent applications are less strict and are the quickest way to get patent pending status.

This will allow you to share your invention or idea with the public while reducing the threat of anyone stealing your idea. The fee you need to pay to file a provisional patent application depends on the size of your business. Here are the USPTO fees for provisional patent application as of June, 2019:

  • Micro Entity: $70
  • Small Entity: $140
  • Large Entity: $280

Filing a provisional patent application to get patent pending status is the lowest cost option you have. All you need to file a provisional application is a detail description of how your invention words, the applicable use of your invention, and drawings of your invention.

Remember that your patent pending status is good as long as you have not abandoned your patent application. Provisional patent applications have a life of 12 months. You must file a non-provisional patent application prior to the 12 month if you want to continue to market your product as patent pending.

No Patent Pending Protection

If you do not file a patent application, you will not be able to restrict others from making, using, or otherwise selling your invention. Also, you will not be able to benefit by using the patent pending status.

Your competitors may see you as someone who doesn't care about their intellectual property. This becomes a problem if your invention is successful, if copycats get wind of it, they might copy it and make their own competing product.

When Does Patent Pending Status End?

Your patent pending status ends when either of two things happens. It ends if (1) you abandon your patent application or (2) the patent office grants your patent application. So long as your application is pending at the trademark office, your patent pending status will remain in full effect.

Once your patent pending status ends, you must not use the words patent pending anymore. If the patent office issues or grants your patent application, you should replace the term "patent pending" with "patented." If you abandon your application, you should immediately stop using the term "patent pending."

How to Stop Copiers During Patent Pending?

The law does offer patent application some protection while their patent application is in its pending phase but it's not as powerful as the protection that you'll get if your patent application is granted.

This is so because not every patent application will become a patent. Thus, it would not be appropriate to allow patent applications to stop others from making, using, or selling the invention described in their application especially when there is a chance that the USPTO may reject their application.

To show infringement in the patent pending status, an applicant will have to show the following:

  • The royalties begin after your patent is published and not the date it was filed,
  • You must show that the copier had actual notice of your patent application,
  • The claims in your application must be substantially identical at the time the patent application is granted as they were when the application was published

The most difficult requirement is the substantially identical requirement because inventors often make changes to the claims while the patent examiner prosecutes their patent application. During the examination stage, your patent attorney negotiates the scope of your invention with the patent examiner to determine what will be allowed in the issued patent.

Frequently Asked Patent Pending Questions

#1) Does patent pending status give full patent protection?

No, patent pending status does not provide full patent protection. To prevent others from using, manufacturing, or otherwise profiting from your invention, you will need to file and receive a full patent.

#2) What Does Patent Pending Mean?

Patent pending means that a patent application has been filed with the USPTO and although you don't have a patent yet, you'll be able to say that your invention is "patent pending." It tells others that you've taken steps to protect your invention.

#3) Is my patent public while my patent application is pending?

USPTO claims to keep all inventions confidential until the patent is granted or the application is published. Once your patent application is published, anyone may request a copy of the application file.

#4) When Can you Start Using "Patent Pending" on your Product and its materials?

You can begin using patent pending status as soon as you file either a provisional patent application or a non-provisional patent application.

Patent Pending Concluded

We hope this article answered your common questions about patent pending status. We also explained your rights while your patent is pending and when you can using the patent pending designation. If you have any more questions regarding patent pending status of your patent application, please feel free to leave a comment below.


Different Types of Patents offered by the USPTO

Different Types of Patents

If you're a company or inventor, knowing the different types of patents is essential to securing the right type of intellectual property protection for your idea or invention. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers inventor three types of patent with which they can protect their inventions. The types of patents include: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. We will cover these three types of patents in detail below.

The law grants inventors different types of patents depending on the subject matter of the invention. Learning about the different types of patent applications will help you better navigate intellectual property law to protect your idea or invention.

What Are the Different Types of Patents?

We will now cover all of the different types of patents that you can apply for at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Utility Patents. Utility Patents are the most type of applied for patents, making up more than 90% of applied for patents. Utility patents protect any new and useful machine, process, manufacture, or composition of matter, or an improvement of them. Utility patents last for 20 years from the filing date of your patent application.
    • Software Patents. Software patents fall under utility patents and they are used by developers to protect new aspects of their software. Software patents offer developers broader protection than copyright law and so many developers opt for patent protection. That said, software patents are complex so finding an experienced software patent attorney is in your best interest and could save you time and money down the road.
    • Business Method Patents. This type of patent involves patenting a business method that is combined with technology, resulting in a new way of doing business. Obtaining a business method patent is quite tricky so having a patent attorney who can navigate the muddy waters of business method patents will save you time and money and will give you a better chance of getting your patent application approved.
  • Design Patents. Design patents are used to protect the ornamental design of a functional item. Design patents can be used to protect items like Jewelry, beverage containers, and furniture. Design patents offer protection that's similar to trade dress protection under trademark law. To protect your design you have to file a design patent application that illustrates the specific design that you're seeking to protect. Design patents offer 15 years of protection that starts from the day your design patent application is granted.
  • Plant Patents. The USPTO allows inventors to obtain plant patents to protect newly invented strains of asexually reproduced plants. Asexual reproduction means that an inventor can reproduce the plant without the use of any seeds. Agriculturists do this by cutting or grafting parts of the plant. So, why does this USPTO have this requirement? The asexual reproduction requirement proves that the inventor can duplicate the plant. Plant patents last for 20 years from the filing date of a plant patent application.
  • Reissue Patent. Reissue patents are patent that are issued by the USPTO to correct a significant error in an already granted patent. Reissued patent can be issued for utility, design, or plant patents. Just know that reissue patents do not extend the term of your original patent because they only correct errors in the original patent.

Just to recap, the most common types of patents include utility patents (how a product functions), design patents (how a product looks), and plant patents (new species of plants). Other types of patents include provisional patents and we will cover these below.

Provisional vs Nonprovisional Patent Application

To obtain a patent, an inventor must first file a patent application with the USPTO. If your invention falls under utility patents, you will find two types of patent applications: a provisional patent application and a non-provisional patent application.

Provisional Patent Application

A provisional patent application is often filed with the patent office instead of a (regular) nonprovisional patent application because it requires less work and it's also less expensive than preparing and filing a nonprovisional application. Provisional patents help inventors secure an early filing date, but they can never turn into a patent.

This application is often used when an inventor has a great idea or invention and wants to secure a priority date even though he is not 100% ready to file a complete patent application because he is still working on the invention.

So, why would you rush to the USPTO to file a provisional patent application? The United States has what is known as a first inventor to file system, which basically means that the first inventor to file a patent application will be issued a patent if he can satisfy all of the patent requirements.

Assuming you satisfy all of the requirements and you receive a patent, you'll be able to restrict others from using, selling, or otherwise profiting from your invention.

So, what do provisional patent applications require? Provisional patent applications only require you to provide a description and drawing(s) of an invention, but do not require formal patent claims, declarations, or informational disclosure statements.

Provisional patent application are not examined by the patent office, instead they function as a placeholder in time to secure an early filing date for your invention.

Non Provisional Patent Application

The non provisional patent application is a regular utility patent application. It's the application that you file for the USPTO to review and hopefully grant your patent application.

Unlike the provisional patent application, a non provisional patent application can mature into a patent. While the provisional patent application is easy to fill out and doesn't have too many requirements, the non provisional is quite the opposite, it long and there are a lot of rules that you have to follow, breaking even one of the rules can get your application rejected by the USPTO.

Since non provisional patent applications are reviewed, they must follow a certain format and they must makes at least one claim. Non provisional applications are typically written by patent attorneys who know how to adhere the USPTO's strict format.

Which One Should you File? (Provisional vs Non-provisional)

If you need more time to perfect your invention, you can start out by filing a provisional patent, this should give you an extra year to decide if you want to file a non provisional (regular) utility patent.

For example, you have developed a new breaking system for bikes that offers better breaking than conventional bike breaks. You make prototypes and find out that they can stop bikes safely in half the distance of traditional bike brakes.

As you apply for a patent, you should consider all of the ways that you can protect your new invention. You can file a utility patent to protect the breaks themselves. You can file a design patent to protect the distinctive look of your improved breaking system. You can even file a provisional patent application to give yourself some time to file your utility patent application, as well as to learn more about your invention and the market for your patent.

Why Should you Know the Different Types of Patents?

If you want to protect your invention, you need to know the different types of available protection. Patents are a form of intellectual property (IP) that encourage inventors to create new products by giving them a monopoly over their inventions for a limited period of time.

Since the USPTO has different types of patents, you need to know what protection to seek for your invention. If you file a design patent application to protect a functional aspect of your invention, your patent application will be rejected and the money you paid to file your application will be lost. So, doing some research before filing your application will save you tons of money and time.

Defensive Publication

Defensive publication, also known as defensive disclosure, is an intellectual property (IP) strategy that is used to disclose an invention to the public to prevent others from patenting a product, process, or invention.

Those engaging in defensive publication disclose a description and/or drawing of a product or invention so that it enters the public domain and becomes prior art, preventing anyone from patenting the disclosed invention.

Disclosing an invention that is otherwise patentable defeats the novelty of subsequent patent applications. This is so because subsequent patent applications will have nothing new to disclose to the public since the invention has already been disclosed to the public, defeating the novelty requirement that patent applications must satisfy.

Some companies use defensive publication because patenting their invention is expensive, often costing thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of the invention.

The benefit of defensive publishing is that the content becomes public in a matter of hours or days, rather than years required to patent an invention.

For a few hundred dollars, publishing a technical disclosure will help you:

  • Block competitors from obtaining a patent over your invention
  • Reduce the cost of filing and prosecuting a patent application
  • Secure the freedom to operate and use your patent

Benefits of Utility Patents

Although utility patents are more expensive than design patents, they offer superior protection for your idea or invention. Here are some of the benefits of utility patents:

  • Protect the function aspects of your invention
  • Provide broad protection, making it difficult for a competitor to copy your invention without committing patent infringement
  • Capable of protecting many variations of your product all with a single patent

Benefits of Design Patents

Design patents are the least common type of patent filed with the USPTO, but they are easier to get and cheaper than utility patents. Design patents have some benefits that include:

  • Design patents protect the appearance of your product
  • They are cheaper to get than utility patents
  • You can get them faster than utility patent as they typically take 1 to 2 years.

When Should you File Both a Design Patent Application and a Utility Patent Application?

If you invented something that has unique function coupled with a unique appearance, you should consider protecting your invention by filing both a utility patent application and a design patent application. Once you've filed your applications, you can notate that your invention is "patent pending." Also, you should consider contacting an attorney to help you with filing your patent application, depending on the complexity of your invention. This could save you time and money.

When Should You File for a Patent?

If you've invented something new and you want to make money from it, you should protect it with a patent. If you decide that patent protection is something that you want, you should file your patent with the USPTO as soon as possible so that you're the first to file.

The USPTO has a first to file standard that gives priority to the first person to file the patent for the invention. So, if you invented something first, and someone later invents the same thing, if they file before you, they will get the patent and will be able to restrict you from using, selling, or profiting from the invention.

Just remember that the patent office works very slowly. Applications tend to anywhere from 18 to 30 months to approve applications, so the earlier you file, the sooner you can commercialize and profit from your invention.

When Should you Not File for a Patent?

If you're invention isn't new or can't be commercialized, don't waste your time and money on obtaining a patent.

We know that many of you have great ideas and inventions, but it only makes sense to patent it if you know that you can commercialize it and make a profit from it.

Many great ideas never see the success they deserve, so if you feel that you can't successfully sell and profit from your invention, don't waste time and money that you'll never get back.

Also, it's always a good idea to perform a patent search before filing a patent. People sometimes they think that they've invented something new, only to find out that someone else had invented the same or something similar to their invention. You can perform this search on your own, but we recommend hiring an experienced patent attorney to do the research for you.

Examples of the Different Types of Patents

  • Utility Patents
    • Getting a patent over a new breaking system for bicycles. Utility patents last for 20 years from the date you first filed your patent application
  • Software Patents
    • Amazon's 1 Click to Buy Button. Software patents last for 20 years from the date you first filed your software patent application
  • Design Patents
    • Coca Cola Design patent for the appearance of its Coke Bottles. Design patents last for 15 years from when your design patent is granted.
  • Plant Patents
    • A farmer who creates a new species of mangoes. Plant patents last for 20 years from the date you first filed your plant patent

Information Required for the Different Types of Patents

The USPTO requires inventors seeking patent protection to disclose certain information about their invention. Here are the typical things you'll need to fill out in any patent application.

  • Title. You will need to find common words associated with your patent. These words should include words that consumers would recognize as relevant to your invention.
  • Claim. You are required to state at least one claim of your invention. The claim can be the invention's purpose or unique function, or design.
  • Cross Reference. This document claims priority for your patent. You must list current patent applications.
  • Disclosure. If your invention was sponsored by anyone or the Government, you must disclose that in the disclosure section of your patent application.
  • Background. You should give a simple explanation of how you invented the product or process you're seeking patent protection for.
  • Figures. You must label the drawings included in your application with figure numbers. Using a document, label each figure with simple and easy to understand wording.
  • Abstract. You can offer a document that summarizes your invention

Filing Your Patent Application

Your invention will dictate the type of patent you need to file for. You have to choose between the different types of patents: utility patent, design patent, or plant patent. Once you've chosen the appropriate patent, you'll need to fill out the corresponding patent application on the USPTO's website. If you feel comfortable doing so on your own, you can fill out the application yourself, however if you need assistance, contacting an experienced attorney to navigate the different types of patents is another great option.


how many patents has steve jobs been awarded since his death?

How Many Patents has Steve Jobs Been Awarded Since his Death?

Steve Jobs may have passed away in October of 2011, but the USPTO awarded him patents long after his death as the patents worked their way through the patent system. Steve Jobs has been awarded over 140 patent since he died in 2011 from pancreatic cancer.

In total, Steve Jobs has been awarded 458 patents, a third of which (141) have been awarded since he passed away.

We all knew that Steve Jobs was an innovative guy who pushed the boundaries of what's possible, but it's astonishing to know how active he was in terms of inventing new things. To be issued patents three years after his death is simply amazing.

That said, many of the patents that Steve Jobs was listed on were for the look and feel of an object and not the function of how something worked. Also, according to some of his co-inventors, he was listed as an inventor on some patents because he gave his input on the details of a product.

People close to him state that "he had useful comments, suggestions, and it's worthy of him being on the patent."

Steve Jobs First Patent

Steve Jobs was awarded his first patent in 1983. It was titled "Personal Computer." This patent is one among others that shows how Apple and Steve Jobs helped change the world.

The inventions he participated in have impacted many aspects of our daily life, placing powerful computers in the hands of millions of people around the world.

Some of the criticisms of Steve Jobs is that his name often appears alongside many other inventors, suggesting that the inventions or designs weren't entirely his own and instead Jobs is taking credit for what Apple's 80,000 employees invented.

Steve Jobs Last Filed Patent

What's even more interesting is that while Jobs was ill, Apple's lawyers still kept filing inventions under Job's name, with the last patent being filed the day before he passed away.

The last patent that was filed in his name covers the dramatic glass cube that makes up the entrance to Apple's store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York.

That said, Jobs's name is still being added to the new patent until this day. For example, a yacht owner added Steve Jobs' name to a very long yacht. The yacht owner claims that Steve Jobs helped him design the boat and so he honored his help by naming him as an inventor on his patent application.

In the meantime, we are waiting to see if Steve Jobs has any more patents hiding in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).