utility patents vs design patents

Utility Patent vs Design Patent

If you're an inventor and you have an invention or design that you want to protect you might be wondering what the difference is between a utility patent and a design patent. Utility patents and design patents protect different types of intellectual property. Determining whether you need a utility patent vs a design patent is one of the most important decisions an inventor has to make to protect his intellectual property.

Utility patents are the most commonly applied for patents, making up 93.6% of all patent applications at the USPTO. So what's the difference between a utility patent vs design patent? Read below to find out.

Determining what type of patent you need, as well as how and when to file the patent application are important things an inventor must consider because they will impact the success or failure of their patent application. That said, here are the differences between a utility patent and a design patent.

Utility Patent vs Design Patent

We will now list some of the differences between a utility patent and a design patent.

Utility patents protect how inventions, machines, processes, and software work and how they're used. Design patents, on the other hand, protect the appearance and ornamental characteristics that are applied to an article of manufacture (object).

The main distinction between utility and design patents is that utility patents protect how an invention works and design patents protect how an invention looks.

Intellectual Property

Both a utility patent and a design patent are used to protect the intellectual property rights of an individual with a patent. Patents grant inventors a monopoly over their inventions for a limited period of time, usually 20 years for utility patent and 15 years for design patents.

Type of Protection

Utility patents are used to protect the functional aspects of an invention and how the invention works. Utility patents are used to protect machines, processes, or any improvements of them. Design patents, on the other hand are used to protect the appearance and ornamental characteristics of an article of manufacture (object).

Design patents only protect the appearance of an invention, so competitors can often invent around the design, creating a similar product that looks different.

That said, utility patents are more difficult to design around because they protect the function of the invention. So, although a copycat may introduce a product that looks different from the patented product but works the same way, they can still infringe upon your patent.

Here are some examples of what design patents protect: the shape of a laptop computer, phone, or flower vase. Utility patents protect things like software, microchips, smart phones, and nail clippers.

Length of Protection (Patent Term)

Utility patents last for 20 years from the date an inventor or applicant files their utility patent application with the USPTO, design patents are in different in that they last for 15 years from the date the USPTO grants the design patent application.

Both utility patents and design patents allow the inventor or applicant to restrict others from using, making, selling, and profiting from their protected invention or design for a limited period of time.

During this time, the patent holders are the only ones who are allowed to make and sell the patented invention or design. Patent holders can also sell the patents or license them for use by others.

Please note that although utility patent last longer than design patents, inventors will have to pay utility patent maintenance fees at 3.5 years, 7.5 years, and 11.5 years. That said, for design patents, inventors are not required to pay any maintenance fees.

Cost

When it comes to cost, design patents are much cheaper to to obtain than utility patents. Utility patents are typically more complicated and require more work to prepare and complete.

For utility patents, attorneys typically charge between $5,000 and $15,000+, depending on the complexity of the invention or process an inventor is seeking to protect. For design patents, attorneys typically charge between $2,500 to $3,500, depending on the design an inventor is seeking to protect.

Design patents often cost a fraction of what utility patent cost because utility patents can easily end up costing $10,000+. This is so because attorneys require a lot of time to prepare and draft utility patent application, and they may also have to deal with any rejections from the patent office. This all costs time and money.

Pendency

Now that we've covered cost, let's look at which type of patent can you get quicker, a utility patent or design patent. According to stats from the USPTO, utility patent applications take on average 24.2 months to either get approved or denied by the USPTO. Design patents typically take 20.4 months to either get approved or denied by the USPTO, so design patents are often quicker to get from the patent office.

Probability of Rejection

Design patents have a much lower initial rejection rate than utility patents. In fact, many design patent application receive first action allowance. This is so because design patents are much more straightforward and visual, making it easier to examine than utility patents.

Utility patents often have numerous, broader claims, raising the probability that a patent examiner may reject the application on the grounds that similar prior art exists, the invention is not novel, or the invention is obvious.

How to Get a Utility Patent vs How to Get a Design Patent?

To get a utility patent, inventors have to apply using either a nonprovisional (regular) patent application or a provisional patent application. Inventors applying for utility patents can make several claims for their invention in the patent application.

Often times, inventors choose to file a provisional patent application in place of a nonprovisional patent application because provisional patents are much more simple to file and much cheaper, especially if inventors prepare them themselves. Provisional patent applications give inventors a priority date while allowing them to continue working on their invention and looking for investors to invest in their invention.

To get a design patent, inventors of new designs are required to apply using a design patent application. Unlike utility patents where inventors can use a provisional utility patent application, inventors don't have the option of filing a provisional design patent application, instead they must apply using a regular design patent application.

With utility patent applications, inventors can make several claims about their invention, design patent applications only allow inventors to make (claim) one new and unique design per application. If applicants for a design patent claim more than one design in their application, the patent office may reject the application.

Design patents are particularly important if your design provides your product with a competitive edge. Said differently, if your customers would be satisfied with a competitor's products that has an appearance that's different than yours, it's probably not worth your time and money to patent your design. However, if the appearance of your product is something that draws consumers to your product, obtaining a design patent is extremely import for you to maintain your competitive edge.

Filing Both a Utility Patent Application and a Design Patent Application

If you have an invention that's both unique in its function and appearance, you might want to consider filing both a utility patent application to protect the functional aspects of the invention and a design patent application to protect the appearance of the invention.

Inventors want the best protection possible for their invention, having overlapping utility patent and design patent protection makes your invention or product much more valuable. Design patents have gained importance in recent times, so it's worth spending the extra money to protect the unique appearance of your invention.

Take Apple for example, Apple sued Samsung for infringing upon its design patent for the original iPhone, the jury awarded Apple $359 Million in the Apple vs. Samsung Patent Case. Here is the design that Samsung infringed upon.

This goes to show the importance of protecting your intellectual property with not only a utility patent, but also a design patent. Protecting your IP with a design patent and offering good drawings that clearly illustrate your design makes it easier for you to show infringement if a third party copies your IP.

Benefits of Utility Patents

  • They protect the functional aspects of your invention
  • They offer broad intellectual property protection, making it difficult for a competitor to copy your invention without infringing upon it
  • They are capable of protecting several functional aspects of your invention, using only a single utility patent application

Disadvantages of Utility Patents

  • Utility patents are more difficult to get than design patents because the claims are broader and more numerous
  • They are more costly to prepare and file than design patents
  • Probability of rejection is higher for utility patents than design patents
  • They take longer to get than design patents

Benefits of Design Patents

  • They protect the appearance of your invention or product
  • They are much cheaper to obtain than utility patents
  • They take much less time to obtain than utility patents
  • Higher allowance rate than utility patents

Disadvantages of Design Patents

  • They only protect the specific design you patent, making it easier for others to patent around your design, i.e., make a similar but different design than the one you've patented.
  • Design patents are narrower in scope than utility patents
  • Offer less profit potential than utility patents, making utility patents more valuable

Conclusion

So, if you're in a situation where your invention not only has a unique function, but also a unique appearance, you should consider filing both a utility patent application and a design patent application. We do not recommend that you file both applications on your own, it's a somewhat complicated situation that requires the help of an experienced patent attorney.

If you choose to file both applications with the USPTO, you will enjoy patent pending status while the patent office examines and approves your design and utility patent application.

Are There Other Types of Patents Besides Utility Patents and Design Patents?

The USPTO offers three distinct types of patents. Among them are utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. So, there is a third different type of patent, known as a plant patent.

Plant patents protect new, asexually reproduces species of plant. To be able to get a plant patent, an inventor must show that the plant to be patented must have been asexually reproduced. Asexual reproduction means that the plants were reproduced by means other than by seeds, such as budding, grafting, or layering.

It's important to note that not all countries offer plant patents, fortunately the U.S does to any person that invents or discovers a new, asexually reproduced plant.

Which is Harder to Get Design Patent or Utility Patent?

Utility Patent

Utility patents are harder to get than design patents because preparing the application requires a lot of research, organization, and writing. According to the USPTO, the applicant must provide the following for a utility patent application:

  • Background of the Invention

    The background for the invention must include the field to which the invention relates to, as well as the subject matter of the claimed invention.
  • Brief Summary for the the Invention

    This section should include the general idea of the invention, as well as well as the problems with prior art that your invention solves.
  • Drawings of the Inventions

    All utility patent applications are required to contain drawings if they are necessary to understand the subject matter of the invention. Almost all utility patent applications contain drawings. The drawings must must show every feature of the invention as the applicant specified them in the claims. Make sure the drawings are included at the time you file your patent application because the patent office prohibits adding new photos to an application after the application has been filed. This restrict was put into place to prohibit applicants from adding new matters to the application.
  • Detailed Description of the Invention

    The detailed description of the invention must explain the process involved in making the invention, as well as how to use the invention. The applicant must use language that is clear and concise and must explain how the invention is different from what has already been patented. The description should be good enough so that "a person of ordinary skill in the pertinent art, science, or area could make and use the invention without extensive experimentation."
  • Claims for the Invention

    As part of a utility patent application, inventors must distinctly point out and claim the subject matter of the invention. The claims made in your application will define the scope of protection for your invention. Each patent application must include at least one claim and if you're including several claims, you must number them consecutively.
  • Abstract of the Disclosure

    The abstract is designed to enable both the public and the USPTO to quickly understand what the invention is about. The abstract should point out what's new in your invention and is limited to a single paragraph. Abstracts should no be longer than 150 words.
  • Oath or Declaration

    Once you've completed your utility patent application, you must make an oath (statement) that the inventor believes he is the original inventor and that the utility patent application was made or authorized by him.

Design Patent

Design Patents are easier to get than utility patents and now we'll explain some of the requirements you need to have for design patents:

  • Preamble

    Applicants for design patents have the option of include a preamble that states the name of the applicant, the title of the design and a brief description of the design to be patented.

  • Title

    The title of the design must describe the article to which the design is attached. This is to help the patent examiner perform his search of prior art.
  • Figure Descriptions

    Each drawing or figure of the design must be accompanied by a brief description that indicates the view represented by the drawing, for example: top, right side, left side, bottom, etc.
  • A Single Claim

    Design patent applications are only permitted to make 1 claim, said differently, they can only claim one design. The claim defines what the applicant wants to patent.
  • Drawings

    For design patent application, the drawings disclosure is the most important element of the application. Every application must include either a drawing or black and white photo of the design you're seeking to patent. Make sure that that the drawing is clear and complete because it will determine the scope of protection for your patent.
  • Oath or Declaration

    Once you've completed your design patent application, you must make an oat that you believe you are the original inventor and that the design patent application was made or authorized by you.

Conclusion

As you can tell by the amount of detail that is required to get a utility patent vs getting a design patent, design patents are much easier to get. The design patent application requires considerably less detail than utility patent application.

Who Qualifies for a Utility Patent vs Design Patent

As we previously mentioned, utility patents are the most common type of sought-after patent, making up more than 93% of all applied for patent in 2015. To qualify for a utility patent, an applicant must invent a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or an improvement thereof.

If an applicant is successful in making this showing, he will be awarded with a utility patent that protects the invention for 20 years from the filing date of his utility patent application. Just remember that if you obtain a patent from the USPTO, you're invention is only protected in the United States. To protect your invention abroad, you must file a patent application in every country you want to be protected in.

To qualify for a design patent, you must have a design that is both new and unique. As mentioned previously, a design patent will only protect the ornamental appearance of the object to which it is attached. A design patent will be limited to what is explicitly depicted in the drawings that are included in the design patent application.

Some products or inventions can qualify for both a utility patent and a design patent. So, if you want to protect your product, consider whether it qualifies for both a utility and design patent. Of course, the design patent will protect the appearance of your product and the utility patent will protect the functional features of your product.

What Happens When Someone Infringes Upon a Utility Patent vs a Design Patent?

If you have a utility patent or design patent that is patent pending, you cannot sue anyone for patent infringement until the USPTO grants your utility or design patent.

Once the patent offices issues or grants your patent, you can enforce your rights under the patent by hiring an attorney to sue any party that infringes upon your patent. You can then sue the party that was infringing upon your patent for infringement that they committed starting from the date you filed your patent application.

That said, the USPTO will not enforce your patent by suing third parties on your behalf. The patent office only grants you your patent, you have to do the rest and enforce your patent by hiring an attorney and bearing the expenses associated with enforcing your rights under the patent.

Design Patent vs Utility Patent

This article explained the differences between design patent and utility patent. We covered the differences between obtaining the two, the length of protection offered by the two types of patents, as well as how easy it is to get a utility patent vs a design patent. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Difference between patent and copyright

Patent vs Copyright

Patents and copyrights are both different types of intellectual property (IP). Please often use the words incorrectly, knowing the difference between the two is important if you're looking to protect your IP. After reading through this article, you will better understand the difference between a patent and copyright. You will also start noticing just how often people use these two terms incorrectly.

Typically, when people think about property, they think of personal property, such as their smart phone, jewelry, or real property, such as their home. They totally forget about intellectual property, which is an intangible form of property. We will now begin discussing the difference between patent vs copyright.

Intellectual property law was created to encourage people to create intellectual products and goods by offering them protection from theft and unauthorized use. Intellectual property rights are often granted for a limited period of time (we will cover this below).

Many individuals and businesses want to protect their intellectual property but don't know what protection to apply for. This article will help you device whether you need patent protection or copyright protection.

Difference Between Patent and Copyright

Patent vs Copyright, how are they different? A patent protects an inventor's invention, product, or machines; whereas copyright protects an artistic piece of work, such as a book, play, movie, song, photograph, or computer software code. Both Patents and copyrights protect intellectual property from being exploited without the owner's permission.

Patent

The USPTO, which is the agency responsible for issuing patents, mainly offers two types of main patents. These are Utility Patents, which protect how an invention works and how it's used. Design patents protect aesthetics and ornamental design of a functional item.

According to the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), patents grant inventors the right to restrict others from using, making, selling, or importing their inventions. Note that an applicant's invention is only protected in the United States, if an inventor wants protection abroad, he must obtain a patent in every country he wants his invention protected.

Intellectual property goods that can be protected by a patent:

  • Product
  • Process
  • Machine
  • Invention
  • Software
  • Pharmaceuticals

Patent owners enjoy the right to use, make, sell, license, and enable others to use their invention. The great thing about patents is the right to prevent others from using, selling, and importing your invention without your permission.

Copyright

Copyrights grant the creator of an original piece of creative work the exclusive right to determine who can copy and use his literary, musical, and other artistic work regardless of whether the author publicly published his work. Authors do not need to register their work with the U.S Copyright Office for protection to apply, but registering your artistic or literary work with them enhances the protection afforded by copyright law.

Intellectual property goods that can be protected by a copyright:

  • Books
  • Poetry
  • Music
  • Songs
  • Movies
  • Architecture
  • Computer Software

Registering your work with the copyright office places others on notice that that you own the copyrighted work. Also, copyrights establish evidence of your ownership over your work.

As a copyright owner, you enjoy the right to reproduce, copy, distribute, and broadcast your work to the public.

Length of Patent Protection vs Copyright

  • Utility Patents. Utility patents protect inventions for 20 years from the filing date of the patent application. For utility patents, the patent holder must pay periodic maintenance fees to keep the patent from expiring.
  • Design Patents. Design patents protect designs for 15 years from the date the design patent is granted. Unlike utility patents, you do not have to pay maintenance fees to keep the design patent from expiring.
  • Copyright. Copyright protection for works created by an individual lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years after his death. For an anonymous work or work made for hire, the copyright lasts for a term of 95 years from the year the work is first published or for 120 years from the date of its creates, whichever expires first.

Copyright Protection vs Patent Protection

While all artistic works are automatically protected under copyright law the moment you create them, to file a lawsuit against anyone who violates your copyright, you will have to register your copyright with the U.S Copyright office before filing a lawsuit.

The protection offered under patent law is much different. To protect your invention you must file a patent application with the USPTO and the patent office has to grant your patent. Unlike copyright law where your work is protected the moment you create it, you're only protected under patent law if the patent office grants your patent.

Once the USPTO issues or grants your patent, you will be able to enforce your rights under patent law by suing others who make, use, offer to sell, or import your invention to the United States.

Copyright protection is often easier to attain since all you have to do is create your work and affix it to a medium that will allow people to view or perceive it with the aid of a machine or device (publishing your work online satisfies this requirement).

Registering your work with the U.S Copyright office is voluntary and copyright exists the moment you create your work. To sue someone for copyright infringement, you will have to register your work with the copyright office.

Why Are Patents and Copyrights Important?

Protecting your intellectual property rights by patenting your invention and registering your copyright allows you to take action against any person or business that infringes upon your property.

Without copyright law and patent law, people can steal your invention or artistic work and sell them as their own, leaving you without any recourse against such thieves. That's why it's important to register your work and patent your invention the second you create something new.

Patenting Your Invention

To patent your idea or invention, you have to make sure that your invention meets the requirements for patentability and you have to file a patent application with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Utility patents are the most common type of patent applied for at the USPTO, making up more than 90% of all applied for patents. They are used to protect products, processes, and machines.

You can also obtain a design patent to protect the unique design or look of your product. To get a design patent, you have to show that the appearance of your product is new and unique. Once you patent a design, you will be able to restrict others from using, making, and selling the article or product you've designed.

The USPTO offers a third type of patent, known as a plant patent. Plants patents are the least type of patent applied for, making less than 1% of all applied for patents. Plant patents are granted to inventors who discover or create new, asexually reproduced plant species.

The patent office not only allows you to protect the product you've created, but also the process that was used to create the product. Protecting the process for creating an invention is extremely important, especially for business that spend tremendous amounts of time and money perfecting and optimizing their process.

Filing a patent to protect your intellectual property can be a difficult process. If you have the money, we always recommend that you hire an experienced patent attorney to prepare and file your patent application. While it's not unheard of to find someone who has patented his invention on his own, making minor mistakes could cost you a lot of money.

Registering Your Copyright

Anyone can register their copyright through the U.S Electronic Copyright Office eCo registration portal. eCo allows creators to register basic claims for literary works, artwork, movies, pictures, and songs.

eCo is a great and cost effective way for creators to register their artwork, here are some of the benefits of using the U.S Electronic Copyright Office (eCo):

  • $35 registration fee for a single author registering a single piece of work that was not made for hire
  • Fastest way to register your work
  • Offers ability to track the status of your registration online
  • Ability to pay fees via credit or debit card online

Registering your work is important to protect your ability to collect profits from your artistic creation. Even though copyright protection is automatic, if find that someone is infringing upon your intellectual property (IP), you will not be able to file a federal lawsuits to stop those who infringe upon your work.

As we've mentioned previously the U.S Copyright Office has made it fairly easy to register your artwork via eCo. All you need to do is fill out some basic information with the copyright office within three months of creating your literary or artistic work. Once you register your work, you are protected and will be able to hold others accountable for copying or passing off your work as their own.

While many people don't know the specifics of copyright protection, they are familiar with the fact that the "©" symbol means that the work is protected by copyright law.

What Are Some Examples of Patents and Copyrights?

Maybe showing you a few examples of patents and copyrights will help you understand the differences between them.

Examples of patents include pharmaceutical drugs, toe nail clippers, beverage bottles, computers, toasters, generators, special bottling process, and Amazon's 1 Click to buy button. You can also patent new plant species with a plant patent.

Examples of copyright include books, songs, photos, paintings, screenplays, software code, and movies.

Should You Get a Patent and a Copyright?

If you're someone who has a product he wants to protect, you might be wondering whether you'll need a patent or a copyright. We hope that this article helped show you the difference between a patent and a copyright. In some cases, a person can protect his intellectual property with both a copyright and a patent.

One example of a situation where you can protect your intellectual property with both a patent and a copyright is software. Software code can be protected by copyright law just as the text of a novel would be protected. The functional aspects of software can be protected by applying for a patent. Most businesses opt to register their software with the U.S Copyright Office for copyright protection and patent their software through the USPTO.

That said, if you're interested in protecting your intellectual property, it's a good idea to consult an attorney and ask them for their advice. A good attorney will be able to get your product or work the best possible protection.

Patent Notice vs Copyright Notice

Here are some of the patent and copyright designations that you will find on common products that are either protected by a copyright, a patent, patent pending.

Patent Notice

  • Patented
  • Patent ##########
  • Patent Pending
  • Pat. Pen.
  • U.S Pat. Pen.
  • U.S Patent Pending
  • U.S Patent #########

Copyright Notice

  • The letter “c” in a circle (©)
  • The word "copyright"
  • The date the work was published
  • The name of the author or owner of the copyrighted work

You Cannot Copyright or Patent Merely an Idea

Some people often misunderstand copyright and patent law and think they can copyright or patent something that's just an idea. It's not that simple and you have to have something more concrete than just an idea.

To get a patent, you must have turned your idea into an invention that you can describe. You need to be able to describe how the invention can be made and explain the purpose of the invention. You can use a prototype that you have or offered detailed drawings showing how the invention can be made.

To get a copyright, your work must be fixed to a tangible medium of expression, such as a book, painting, song, or software. You can just copyright an idea of a book that you have.

Copyright vs Patent

This article explained the differences between a copyright and a patent. Hopefully after reading this article, you will know which intellectual property protect you need to protect your invention or work of art. If you have any general questions or comments about copyright vs patent, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


How to patent your idea

How to Patent an Idea?

If you've invented something new that will be very profitable once produced and sold, you may be wondering how to protect it from being copied by others. If that's you, you've come to right the spot. U.S Patent law offers inventors patents, which are intellectual property rights that prevent others from using, making, selling, or importing your idea or invention. So, how do you patent your idea to protect your intellectual property? We will answer this question below.

How do you Patent Your Idea?

In the United States, inventors can protect their inventions by applying for a patent. To patent your idea, you must have an invention that is patentable, no one must have patented it before you, and then you have to file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark (USPTO). Patenting your idea or invention can be a complicated process that may require the assistance of a skilled patent attorney. We will give you the step-by-step process on how to get a patent in the coming sections.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a form of intellectual property right that the U.S Government grants to inventors to prohibit others from using, making, selling, or importing their inventions in the United States for a limited period of time. If someone copies your patented invention, you will be able to sue them for patent infringement.

For inventors, patents function as both a shield and a sword. As a sword, a patent allows you to make, use, and sell your invention while restricting others from doing the same. As a shield, it prevents others from taking an invention that's the same as yours, patenting it and then restricting you from using, making, or selling the invention.

This is so because the United States has "the first to file" rule for patents. Under this rule, the person who first files a patent application with the patent office has priority over anyone (even someone who invents the invention first) who files later. Priority means that the first to file can legally prohibit everyone else from taking advantage of the invention.

Types of Patents You Can Get

The USPTO currently offers four types of patents that you can apply for:

  • Utility Patent. A utility patent protects a product, process, machine, or improvement of one of them. Utility patents are the most common type of patent applied for, making up 93.6% of all patent applications.
  • Design Patent. A design patent protects the aesthetics, appearance or ornamental design of a functional item. Design patents make up 6.2% of all patent applications.
  • Plant Patent. A plant patent is a patent that protects newly invented or asexually reproduced a new and distinct type of plant. Plant patents make up less than 1% of all patent applications.
  • Software Patent. A software patent as the name implies, protect unique and new software. Software patents are hard to get and getting them typically requires the help of an experienced software patent attorney.

Why are Patents Important?

If you have a new invention, you might be wondering why are patents important? Patents are important for several reasons, the main reason being that they provides protection for your product or invention by allowing you to restrict others from using, making, or selling your invention without your express permission. Here are several reasons why you should protect your invention with a patent:

  • Protection. The main reason most people patent their invention or process is to restrict others from using, making, or selling their invention without their express permission to do so. Just remember that you can't sue anyone for patent infringement unless the USPTO has granted or issued your patent.
  • Priority. Patenting an invention before anyone else patents it gives the patent holder priority over others who seek to patent the same invention after the patent holder does so. Therefore, if you want to share your invention with third parties, it's smart to first file a patent application to protect yourself against someone who might steal your idea.
  • Limit Your Competition. Patenting your invention or products will help you curb any competition. If you have a competitors that copies your idea, by patenting your product, you can ask your competitors to stop selling your patented product. If they don't respond, you can always sue them for infringing upon your patent.
  • Exclusivity. If you are successful in patenting your invention, you will be able to exclusively profit and use your invention for 20 years from the filing date of your patent application (this applies to utility patents).
  • You will find a detailed explanation of why you should or should not get a patent here.

How to Protect your Idea or Invention Before Getting a Patent?

If you need help or input on your invention from third parties and you don't have a patent on your invention, you can have an attorney prepare a confidentiality agreement that they can sign to keep the details of your invention private.

While confidentiality agreements are not foolproof, they will make it less likely that the party you're sharing information with will steal or copy your idea. We often find confidentiality agreement used when sharing information between inventors, investors, friends, family, and students.

Keeping your invention confidential is important if you want to get a patent for your invention. It's important because you typically have to file a patent application for your invention before disclosing the invention to the public.

This is so because if the invention is disclosed to the public, it becomes prior art and when the patent examiner is considering whether the invention is new, if he finds the prior art, he may find that the invention is not new and reject the patent application.

That said, the United States along with some other countries offers a 12 month grace period, which allows application to file a patent application within 12 months of disclosing it to the public.

If any of the parties who signed the confidentiality agreement discloses your invention or tries to copy your idea, you will be able to sue them in court for breaking the agreement. If you want a good confidentiality agreement, contact an attorney in your jurisdiction and have them draft one for you.

Steps to Patent Your Idea

Patenting your invention is a long and somewhat complicated process. Knowing the steps you need to take to patent your idea or invention will help clarify things for you. Here are the steps you'll need to take to get a patent:

1) Make Sure your Idea Qualifies for a Patent

To get a patent, you can't patent just an idea, you need to show how your invention works. In addition to having an invention, your invention must be new and we will discuss the novel (new) requirement in the section directly below. Making sure that your invention qualifies for patent protection is very important especially since it requires a fair amount of your money and time to patent it.

2) To Get a Patent Your Invention Must be Novel (New)

To get a patent, U.S Law requires your invention to be new and useful. For your invention to be new means that some aspect of your invention was not known to the public before filing your patent application. The novelty (new) requirement was established to prevent prior art (publicly disclosed information) from being patented. Prior art includes all information that has been made available to the public is any form prior to filing your patent application with the USPTO. If the patent examiner finds that your invention has been described in prior art, your invention will be deemed not to be new.

3) Your Invention Must be Useful

Useful means that your invention provides some identifiable benefit or solves some problem. The patent office typically find inventions useful if they provide some identifiable benefit to society and it's capable of being used. Inventions are rarely challenged on the grounds that they are not useful. The USPTO guidelines require patent application to express a specific, credible, and substantial utility. When patent examiners examine your application, the patent office bears the burden of proving that your invention is not useful. The utility you claim in your application is presumed valid unless the patent examiner shows otherwise.

4) Choose the Protection you Need

If you are still working out the kinks from your invention or you want to improve it and you're not ready to file a nonprovisional (regular) patent application, you can apply for a provisional patent application to reserve a priority date for your invention while continuing to work on your invention. Some people often refer to this as a provisional patent, but it's really just a provisional patent application.

Once you file a provisional patent application, you can use the words patent pending on your products, its packaging, and materials. That said, provisional patents are only good for 12 months. During the 12 months, you must file a nonprovisional (regular) patent application to patent your invention.

The downside to using a provisional patent application is if you add anything new to the invention that was not included on the provisional application, you will need to file a new patent application to add any newly protected features.

That said, if you already completed work on your invention and you have the money to patent your product, you can skip the provisional patent application and file a regular patent application with the patent office.

Also, in addition to your utility patent application, you can file a design patent application to protect the way your invention looks because utility patents only protect how an article is used and how it works, so if you want to protect the aesthetics of your product, you'll need to file a design patent in addition to the utility patent application. Protecting both the utility and design of your invention makes your intellectual property more valuable.

5) Prepare & File Your Patent Application

Preparing and filling out your patent application to get a patent is a complicated process that requires you to comply with technical and formal requirements. The regular patent application has several parts and making mistakes, minor or major, can get your application rejected.

You do have the option of completing and filing your patent application yourself and the patent office is required to help you do so, however we always recommend that you consult and hire an attorney to complete and file your application for you.

If you choose to do it yourself, make a checklist of all of the requirements you need to comply with and double check your work as you move from one section of the application to the other.

If you do make a mistake, the patent office will usually give you a chance to correct it, however it will cost you time and money to submit corrections to the patent office.

We recommend that you hire an experienced patent, such as the ones at Legal Zoom because they have a team of experienced patent attorney who are skilled at drafting and filing patent applications for applicant such as yourself.

6) Wait For the USPTO to Respond

Once you've filed your patent application with the USPTO, you have to wait to hear back from them. Often times the patent examiner will reject your application arguing that your invention is not new, that your invention is not patentable, or that you have failed to explain how your invention works.

In any of these circumstances, you can usually reply to the USPTO arguing why your your patent application should be granted and why the patent examiner is wrong.

While your waiting to hear back from the patent office, you can start contacting potential customers for your product or you can contact companies that want to license the technology you're trying to patent.

Why you Should Not Patent Your Idea or Invention?

Patents are valuable form of intellectual property rights. You should not get a patent if your invention is not patentable or if your invention is patentable but will not become commercially successful. Patenting your invention can be a costly process, especially if you need an attorney to help you with your patent application.

So, how do you know if your invention is patentable?

1) USPTO Search. You should search the USPTO Patent Database to ensure that no one has patented an invention or process that's the same or similar to yours. If you find that there are no similar inventions, you should move on to other publications.

2) Search Expansion. If the USPTO search does not return any similar inventions, you can move on to searching other publications, such as scientific journals that relate to your invention.

3) Attorney. If for some reason you're having trouble performing the search on your own, don't feel discouraged because conducting the research on your own can be difficult. If you have an invention worth patenting, contact a patent attorney and have them help you perform the required research.

4) Notes. If while performing your research you find inventions that are similar to yours, write some notes about how your invention differs from them or how it improves upon them. Prepare a short explanation of why your invention is different from the ones that came before it.

Do you Need a Lawyer to Patent Your Idea?

We have seen many people successfully patent their idea or inventions on their own, so it's not totally unheard of for someone to prepare and file their own patent application. Finding a good patent attorney costs a lot of money, but they are better suited to conduct research and prepare your application for you.

While hiring an attorney doesn't guarantee the approval of your patent application, the chances of getting your application rejected for seemingly minor mistakes is a lot less with the help of an attorney.

If you choose to prepare and file your patent application on your own, you have to make sure that your invention qualifies for a patent and you will have to fill out the patent application. When filling out the patent application, you have to describe your invention and how it works.

That said, going it alone is very risky because you need to do a lot of work in a field that you may know little about. If you believe that you can get yourself a quality patent without the help of an attorney, you're free to do so, but if you have the money to hire an attorney and like the added convenience, hire an attorney to do the heavy lifting for you.

Patent attorneys have not only passed the bar exam, but they have also passed the patent bar exam. Most patent lawyers have a great grasp of how the patenting process works and the ins and outs of patent law to help you get the best patent protection possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (How to Get a Patent)

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about how to get a patent in the US:

1) How Much Does it Cost to Get a Patent?

When considering the costs for getting a patent, you have to consider the patent application fees and lawyer fees if you have one. If you are an individual inventor or a business with 500 employees or less, you will have to pay a filing fee of $150 for utility patents, $100 for design patents, and $140 for provisional patents.

The majority of the cost that you'll have to pay is for an attorney to prepare your nonprovisional (regular) patent application. Lawyer fees for utility patents range from $5,000 to $15,000+, depending on the complexity of your invention. Software patents often cost $15,000+ due to the complexity of software patent law.

The fees we just mentioned are to prepare and file your patent application. Often times the patent office will communicate with your attorney and your attorney might have to make adjustments to your patent application, this of course is not free and your attorney will likely charge you for these services.

For more information on patent costs check out this article.

2) How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent?

In 2019, it's currently taking 24 months from the date you file your patent to get a patent. Your patent application may take more or less time depending on how complex your invention is.

The USPTO currently has 550,000+ pending patent applications and only 8,000+ examiners to examine all of the applications. This is why the patent office is currently taking so long to approve application.

The first response from the USPTO is currently 16.4 months. Just remember that the first response you get from the patent office may not be an immediate approval, rather the response may be that your application is lacking in some aspect. You or your attorney will have an opportunity to reply and argue why your application is not lacking and a patent should be granted.

3) Why do Patent Attorneys Charge So Much to Get a Patent?

Patent attorneys charge a lot of money because they have specific experience in the field of patent law and scientific or engineering experience that relates to the field of the invention they're seeking to patent.

Good patent attorneys are highly skilled in their field and many patent attorneys negotiate with the patent office on your behalf to get you the best patent protection possible. But any negotiations and communications that the attorney has to do with the patent office is usually in addition to the filing expenses you first paid.

While you may be tempted to prepare and file the patent application on your own, paying for a decent patent attorney may save you time and money down the road.

4) Why Should I get a Patent?

You should get a patent if you have an invention that's worth protecting. Patents give you exclusive ownership over your invention for a limited period of time. For utility patents, you will enjoy ownership for 20 years from the filing date of your patent application, for design patents you get 15 years of protection from the date your patent is granted, and for plant patents you get 20 years of protection from the filing date of your patent application.

Having a patent over your invention allows you to restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing your invention to the United States. However, patents issued by the USPTO cannot be used to restrict others from making or selling your invention in other countries. For protection in other countries, you will need to get a patent in every country that you want patent protection in.

Patent Pending

Once you've applied to get a patent, your invention immediately becomes patent pending and you can instantaneously begin marketing it as such. That said, while your patent is pending, you are not protected from patent infringement because you cannot sue anyone for infringing upon a patent that is still pending.

That said, having the words patent pending on your product puts potential copiers and thieves on notice that you're actively seeking legal protection for your product. In the even that the USPTO grants your patent, you will be able to take legal action against those that infringe upon your patent.

Filing a Provisional Patent Application to Patent Your Idea Fast

Filing your patent application quickly is more important today than it ever was before thanks to the first to file rule in the United States. Under the first to file rule, priority is given to the applicant who files his patent first. This makes the benefits of establishing ownership over intellectual property more important than ever.

As mentioned previously, filing a provisional patent application, just like filing a regular patent application gives you patent pending status. This gives you plenty of time to test the market and see if there's a market for your invention.

With a provisional patent application, you can approach manufacturers for quotes and you can approach buyers to see if they're willing to place an order for your patent pending product. By the end of your market research, you should have a good idea of whether there's a market for your idea and whether you need to make any improvements to your invention.

Since provisional patent applications are almost never read or examined by the patent office (unlike non-provisional applications), this buys you an extra year of secrecy. Non-provisional patent applications are typically made public after 18 months of filing.

Overall, provisional patent applications are great to use before using a regular application. Provisional patent applications gives you the freedom to speculate, test the waters, and ultimately make a more informed decision about whether you really want to get a patent for your invention.

How to Patent an Idea or Product? (Concluded)

Now you know that getting a patent is a great way to protect your intellectual property rights. We shared all of the information relating to how to patent your idea or invention in the United States, whether you should hire an attorney to get a patent, and the steps you need to take to patent your idea or invention. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


provisional patent cost, how much does a provisional patent cost

Provisional Patent Cost (Everything You Need to Know)

If you want to protect your invention and attain patent pending status, a provisional patent is the way to go. The USPTO sets the costs for filing your provisional patent. The cost of a provisional patents depends on a few factors that we will discuss in detail below.

How Much Does a Provisional Patent Cost?

The cost of a provisional patent depends on whether your filing as a micro entity, small entity, or large entity. A provisional patent costs $70 for micro entities, $140 for small entities, and $280 for large entities. There are no additional fees for submitting a provisional patent application. We will now explain who qualifies as a micro-entity, small entity, and large entity.

Miro Entities are eligible for a 75% reduction on most USPTO fees. To better explain this, the current cost to file a provisional utility patent is $280 for large entities. For small entities there is a 50% reduction of fees, bringing the cost to $140. For Micro entities, there is a 75% reduction in fees, bring the cost to file a provisional utility patent down to $70.

The cost of filing a non-provisional (regular) patent application includes three components:

  • Basic Filing Fee
  • The Search Fee
  • Examination Fee

For provisional patents, you will only have to only pay the filing fees because the USPTO will not examine your application, nor will it perform a patent search. This makes filing a provisional patent application a smart choice for inventors who do not have the funds to file a regular non-provisional patent application.

If you choose to file your provisional patent on your own, you will only need to pay the application filing fees. If you choose to have an attorney prepare your provisional patent, your attorney may charge you professional fees for preparing your application.

Micro Entity Provisional Patent Cost

If you qualify as a micro entity, you will only have to pay $70 to file your provisional patent application. If you meet the requirements, you will need to execute a declaration that you meet the requirements when you pay the fee.

To qualify as a micro entity, an applicant for a U.S provisional patent must meet the following requirements.

  • The inventor or applicant must be:
    • An individual, or
    • Small Business (Business with 500 of fewer employees),or
    • A university, or
    • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
  • The inventor or applicant must not have been named on a total of more than 4 non-provisional (regular) patents, design patents, or plant patents
  • The inventor or applicant must have had a gross income in the previous year of less than the media income reported by the Bureau of Census. The most recently publicly available gross income limit is $184,116

Small Entity Provisional Patent Cost

If you qualify as a small entity, you will only have to pay $140 to file your provisional patent application. You will need to prepare a declaration you meet the small entity requirements when you pay the fee.

For an inventor to qualify as a small entity, he must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must be:
    • An individual,
    • A small business having no more than 500 employees,
    • A university, or
    • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Large Entity Provisional Patent Cost

Large entities have to pay $280 to file their provisional patent application. Large entities are applicants with 500 or more employees. When counting employees for the purpose of determining the provisional patent fee, you must include any affiliates under the control of the applicant.

If you have mistakenly paid large entity fees for your provisional patent when you're a small entity, you can file a request for a refund within three months of paying the fee. Just remember, you must request the refund within these three months and you cannot request a refund beyond the three month mark.

Provisional Patent Extra Pages Cost

If you have a very complicated invention that you're seeking to patent, you may have to pay additional fees for each additional 50 sheets that exceed the 100 sheet limit. For micro-entities, each additional 50 sheets cost $100, for small entities, the cost is $200, and for large entities, the cost is $400.

Provisional Patent Lawyer Cost

If you're having an attorney prepare and file your provisional patent, you should expect to pay $1,500 to $3,000 in lawyers' fees depending on the complexity of your patent. Lawyer fees often include the cost of planning and preparing your provisional patent applicant, as well as the cost to perform a patent research and communicate their findings with you.

The more complex your patent, the more you should expect to pay. For example, the cost to have an attorney prepare a provisional software patent costs more than preparing a provisional patent application for a simple, straightforward invention. This is so because preparing a provisional software patent application requires much more research and drafting than other provisional patents.

Even for a provisional patent, although hiring an attorney may seem like an expensive option, not having an attorney help you out can end up costing you more money if you make a mistake. Hiring an attorney after making a mistake can cost you more money since the attorney will have to clean up the mess you've made.

Understanding Provisional Patent Cost

When applying for a provisional patent, you can either prepare and file the application yourself or you can hire an attorney to do the work for you. You may be tempted to pay the $70 and file your provisional patent on your own, but having an attorney help you complete the application and file it on your behalf may save you time and money down the road.

Attorneys will typically charge you for performing research and filling out your provisional patent application. Some attorneys will even charge you for communicating with you via phone or email. While hiring an attorney to prepare and file your provisional patent may be more expensive than doing it yourself, it's the best way to ensure that everything is filled out properly to get you the strongest patent protection down the road.

Having an attorney prepare your nonprovisional patent application is much more expensive than a provisional patent. Attorneys typically charge $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the complexity of your invention. The more complex your invention or process, the more work your attorney will have to do, raising the cost of preparing your nonprovisional patent application.

The fees don't end there after the patent office grants a patent, the patent holder is liable for paying maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years of the patent term. The payments are $800, $1,800, and $3,700.

If the patent holder does not make these required payments, the patent will expire. The USPTO does offer a six month grace period, allowing payments to be made at 4, 8, and 12 years.

The provisional patent cost goes up as the invention becomes more complex. Provisional software patents often cost $15,000+, making them among the most expensive provisional patents to obtain.

Turning Your Provisional Patent into a Non-provisional Patent

If within the 12 months after filing your provisional patent application, you choose to pursue patenting your application, you must either:

  • File a (regular) nonprovisional patent application with the patent office, claiming the benefit of an earlier-filed provisional application, or
  • The inventor can file a petition with the patent office to convert his provisional patent into a nonprovisional application.

Doing either of these things will give you a nonprovisional patent application, but there is a major difference between choosing the first option versus the second option.

If you choose to file a full patent application that claims the provisional application's filing date, your patent term will be measured from the filing date of the provisional patent application.

If you choose to convert your provisional patent into a nonprovisional patent application, your patent term will be measured from the filing date of of your nonprovisional application.

For a nonprovisional application to successfully claim a previously filed provisional application's filing date, the description of the invention in both application must be similar. Said differently, the patent office must determine that the descriptions of both applications represent the same invention.

Having said that, you should thoroughly describe your invention in the provisional patent application. Including illustrations of your invention in your application will help add thoroughness to your application. The saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words" applies here. If you have excellent illustrations, they will be able to supplement the written description of your invention.

Provisional Patent Cost (Don't Cut Corners)

If you've looked into patenting your invention you probably know that the process isn't cheap. Provisional patents are inexpensive compared to non-provisional patents, so people often cut corners by preparing and filing the provisional patent application on their own. By doing so they make a few mistakes, here are some of the mistakes we see most often:

  • Writing an inadequate description that doesn't fully describe your invention
  • Not including detailed drawings of your invention
  • Not describing all of the variations of your invention

If you're planning on getting a patent from the patent office, you'll have to file a non-provisional patent application after your provisional patent. To have your invention protected from the date you filed your provisional patent, the descriptions between your provisional patent and your non-provisional patent have to describe the same invention. If the descriptions are not similar, you can lose the rights under your provisional patent.

Why Should You Apply for a Provisional Patent?

Many investors choose to file a provisional patent to protect the invention or process they have made while continuing to work on their invention. Provisional patents have much less formalities that applicants have to abide by when compared to nonprovisional applications.

Provisional patents allow you to work on your invention for 12 months without having to worry about your invention being stolen. Just remember that the 12 month clock beings ticking as soon as you file your provisional patent. You also have to file your nonprovisional patent application with the USPTO within those 12 months.

Just remember that while you may work on your invention to improve it, if your inventions changes too much from the description you made in your provisional patent, you may lose the ability to claim the filing date of the provisional patent. So, make sure your invention is well though out from the early stages and do as much research on it before filing for your provisional patent.

Preparing a Provisional Patent Application

Once you file your provisional patent with the USPTO, will immediately be able to include the words "patent pending" on your invention, its packaging, and any accompanying materials. Like any other filings made with the patent office, you do have the option to file your provisional patent on your own, but you will greatly benefit from the help of an experienced, registered patent attorney. A competent patent attorney will ensure that all of the technical rules are followed and everything is completed properly.

When preparing your provisional patent application, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Description Requirements. Make sure that you perform enough research prior to filing your provisional patent so that you're able to adequately describe your invention, it's purpose, and how it can be operated.
  • Broad Description. When preparing your description, keep it as broad as possible while still maintaining the accuracy of your description. Avoid confining your invention to overly specific details.
  • Avoid Restrictive Language. Avoid using words, such as "necessary," "must," and "vital to" when describing your invention. These words will restrict the scope of your invention and your patent if the patent office grants it. This is not to say that you shouldn't include as much details as possible, just don't box yourself in a corner with limiting language.

Reasons Not to Pursue a Provisional Patent

If you have worked out all of the kinks from your invention and you're ready for the real thing, you can skip the provisional patent application and file a regular, nonprovisional patent application.

Many inventors often opt to file a provisional patent application because it's something they can do on their own, but it may not even be necessary. If you are worried about your competition stealing your idea and you have completed work on your invention, you can file a regular (nonprovisional) application from the beginning.

In fact, you can use the money that you saved on the preparation of a provisional patent to pay an attorney to research and complete your nonprovisional patent application.

Frequently Asked Questions (Provisional Patents)

1) Are there any additional provisional patent application costs?

For a provisional patent, you only need to pay the provisional patent application filing fee if you're preparing the application on your own. If you need the assistance of an attorney, you will have to pay them for their time. Also, you should submit drawings of your invention with your provisional patent and these typically cost $50 to $100 per drawing.

2) Are provisional patent applications expensive?

Provisional patent applications cost $70 in filing fees, but this amount does not include any lawyer fees. If you hire an attorney, expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000+ in fees. The more complex your invention, the more you will end up paying because the attorney will have to do more work, which means more billable hours for you.

3) What is the cheapest way to get a provisional patent?

The cheapest way to get a provisional patent is to prepare and file the application yourself with the USPTO. In this scenario, you will only need to pay the $70 filing fee.

4) What sources can I use to assist me with my provisional patent?

You can use sources like UpCounsel, they have attorneys who are ready to help you complete and file your provisional patent application. According to their website, attorneys typically charge $1,500 for this service. There are cheaper websites out there, but if you're invention is important to you, it's best that you find someone qualified to do the work for you.

Cost of Provisional Patent

This article covered the cost of provisional patents. We covered the costs of a provisional patent depending on size of your entity. For individuals, filing a provisional patent is significantly less than businesses with more than 500 employees. If you have any general questions or comments about how much provisional patents cost, please leave them in the comments section below.


What is a provisional patent?

What is a Provisional Patent

If you've spent the past few months working on your invention, you're probably wondering how to protect your invention? You've probably heard that you should get a provisional patent. We are here to tell you that the patent office does not offer provisional patents, it does, however, offer patents. This article will explain all of the details you need to know about the provisional patent application.

Applying for a provisional patent application will get you a priority date and patent pending status, but provisional patent applications do not mature into patents. To get a patent, you will have to file a non-provisional (regular) patent application at the USPTO within 12 months of filing your provisional patent application.

Provisional Patent Application Explained

Provisional patents are very useful and beneficial, especially in the United States, which gives priority to the party that files its patent application first. Under the first-to-file rule, priority is given to the first party that files it's provisional or non-provisional patent application. To get priority, you must have filed your patent application prior to disclosing the invention or offering it for sale.

The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) began offering provisional patent application on June 8th, 1995. At this time, the USPTO also changed the patent term from 17 years from the date a patent is issued to 20 years from the patent application filing date.

As part of a provisional patent application, you will have to write a description of your invention and you will have to include several drawings of your invention. You will have to include any drawings that are necessary for the patent examiner to understand the subject matter you're seeking to patent.

Unlike a non-provisional (regular) patent application, a provisional patent application doesn't required formal patent claims, an inventors oath, or an information disclosure statement (IDS).

Provisional Patent Application Examination

Provisional patent applications do not become a granted patent. This is so because provisional applications are not examined by the patent office, they are merely placeholders in time, reserving a priority date for your invention.

Provisional patent applications are not examined by the patent office. The examination is delayed for provisional applications. However, if an inventor wants to obtain a patent, he must file a nonprovisional application within 12 months of filing a provisional patent application. Said differently, for a provisional application to become a patent, it must either be converted into a nonprovisional application or the inventor must file a nonprovisional patent application that relates back to the provisional patent. Rarely will the patent office extend the 12 month pendency period of a provisional patent application.

If your invention is ready and does not require any modifications or tweaks and you have financial power, you can just skip the provisional application and apply for a regular patent application. Non-provisional patent application requires a high amount of detail and they are examined by the patent examiner. If a patent examiner determines that the application meets the requirements of the patent office, the patent application is granted and a patent is issued.

Provisional Patent Application Tip

If you have filed a provisional patent application you should be aware of the consequences of converting your provisional patent application into a nonprovisional application vs filing a nonprovisional patent application claiming the benefit of the provisional application.

You can file a provisional patent application up to 12 months following the inventor's public disclosure of his invention. Just remember that although public disclosure is permitted in the United States, such pre-filing disclosure of your invention may prohibit you from patenting your invention overseas.

So, what counts as a public disclosure of your invention?

  • Publication of your invention
  • Public use of your invention
  • Offering your invention for sale

The patent term for a patent that issues from a nonprovisional application that results from the conversion of a provisional application is measured from the original filing date of the provisional patent application.

However, if an inventor files a nonprovisional patent application that claims priority to an earlier-filed provisional application, the patent term will begin from the date of filing the nonprovisional application. This could extend the life of a patent by up to 12 months.

Provisional Patent Application Requirements

Provisional patent application must name all of the inventor(s) involved in making the invention. As previously stated, you can file a provisional patent application up to 12 months after an inventor's disclosure of the invention. Filing a patent application more than 12 months after disclosing your invention will preclude you from patenting your invention.

According to 35 U.S.C 112(a), to qualify for a provisional patent application, you must include a description of your invention, as well as how to make it and use it so that a person skilled in the field of your invention will be able to make the invention and use it.

Although the USPTO does not require you to file any drawings with your provisional patent application, you can certainly include any drawing that are necessary to understand the invention.

Your provisional patent application should include all of the following items:

  • Filing application as a provisional patent application
  • Name of all inventor(s)
  • Inventor(s) residence(s)
  • Title of your invention
  • Name and registration information of any attorneys helping you out
  • Address for correspondence from USPTO
  • Include any government agency that has a property interest in your invention.

Written Description of Your Invention

The description of your invention should be clear and easy to understand. You should use terminology that enables someone who's skilled in the field of your invention to understand how to make and use your invention. You should include the following in the description of your invention:

  • Title of the invention
  • Purpose of the invention
  • Steps of the invention
  • How the invention performs its steps
  • How users operate the invention
  • Advantages of the invention

Drawings For Your Invention

While the patent office does not require that you submit drawings with your provisional patent application, include them especially if they are necessary for someone to understand your invention and how it works. This is important especially when used to establish priority. You want your provisional patent application to adequately describe the full scope the invention that you want to claim in your non-provisional patent application.

Drawings are your best friends and although we know that some of you may want to cut corners to save money, drawings are not the place to do so. You've probably heard that pictures are worth a 1000 words and this couldn't be more true for your provisional patent application. Drawings can supplement and fix many of the mistakes or shortcomings in your written disclosure, so having professionally made drawings is your best option. Professional drawings can be obtained from $50 to $100 for each drawing.

Reminders

Just remember that you need to include enough details to successfully file you provisional patent application. If for some reasons the patent examiner decides that your nonprovisional application is too different from your provisional filing, you will lose the benefit of your provisional patent application filing date for any new subject matter.

If the patent examiner thinks that there differences between the two applications are great enough to show that you were not in possession of your invention, you may lose the benefit of your provisional filing date for a new subject matter.

The description of your invention in your provisional patent application must support your nonprovisional application to avoid rejection of new subject matter.

Provisional Patent Application Benefits

Filing provisional patent application has many benefits that we will cover below.

Priority Filing Date

Filing a provisional patent application will help you lock in your priority filing date for the lowest possible price. Filing a provisional patent application can be done by paying the patent office a fee of $140 for small entities. Small entities include individual inventors and businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Patent Pending Status

Filing a provisional patent applications allows you to use the term "patent pending" on your products, their packaging, and any accompanying materials. This shows any potential investors that you are serious about your invention and that you have taken legal steps to protect your invention. Patent pending also puts your competitors on notice that you're invention may be protected at a later date and that you will enforce your rights under U.S patent law if they copy your invention.

Lower Cost Than Non-provisional Patent Application

Provisional patent applications cost less than non-provisional patent application. The cost to file a provisional patent application comes in at $140 for a provisional application and $150 for a non-provisional application, but you'll save money if you're seeking the help of an attorney to file a provisional patent application vs a non-provisional application.

Some feel comfortable filling out a provisional application on their own while most will need the help of an attorney to fill out a non-provisional patent application. Attorneys typically charge between $5,000 to $15,000 to file a non-provisional patent application, whereas they charge between $1,500 to $3,500 to file a non-provisional patent application, which makes filing a provisional application significantly cheaper.

Secret

Provisional patent applications are not published (made public) because they are not examined by the USPTO and therefore don't get published. Provisional patent applications remain secret at the USPTO with a few exceptions.

Immediate Acceptance

The USPTO immediately accepts provisional patent applications, allowing you to mark your invention as patent-pending immediately. This is so because provisional patent applications are not examined by the patent office.

Provisional Patent

As a reminder, you can file a provisional patent application to claim patent pending status for 12 months, during which you must file a non-provisional patent application that will mature into a granted patent. While there is no such thing as a provisional patent, filing your provisional patent application will afford you the protections and benefits we described above. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


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 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.