What is patent?
A patent is a the property right granted for an invention and is issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Patents may be filed out of necessity or it might accidentally occur during innovative thinking and brainstorming.
A patent can be applied by individuals, groups of inventors or corporation who have created their own innovative finding in any field. There is no age bar to file a patent.
Need for patent
When you invent something, it is possible that others might copy the same and claim it as their invention. In order to prevent others from using, creating, selling or importing your invention, one must definitely file a patent. This is a means to claim that you are the original owner of the invention and no one else can claim it as their work.
What can be patented?
Process, machine, design, ideas supported by technical description, composition of matter, or improvement on any of these which is unique, un-identified earlier, and innovative can be filed as patent. However, abstract ideas, music, literary, physical phenomena, etc can’t be filed as patent. Ideas need to be translated into patents.
Process to file a patent
Patent filing is a tactical process which involves several steps before filing.
1. Decide what kind of patent you will need
Patent needs to be categorized appropriately before filing, and if your innovation doesn’t belong to one of these categories, it might not be a patent.
• If the patent has a benefit to the society or a tremendous improvement to the existing process, then a utility patent can be filed.
• If your patent is not a model but just a design, then file a design patent which holds its validity for 14 years.
• If you have developed a new variety of plant with asexual reproduction methods, then plant patent can be filed.
2. Confirm that your idea is original
Search the patent database to ensure that no one has ever filed this patent before. Google search, USPTO website, patent directory library are some repositories where you can search for existing patents in case there are any duplicates.
3. Prepare for filing a patent
• Contact a patent filing authority, if you file through some big corporations, they have a patent assistance team who can help you take the right steps.
• You have an option of filing patent as US or as an international applicant. An expedited option is available to process patent verification faster.
• While you are still trying to figure out to file a patent and getting used to with the process, you can still file a patent as draft, which we normally call as Provisional patent in the patent terms.
• Include all the necessary details about the patent, supporting illustrations, design, state of the art, references, proof of concept, or anything you think it might be needed for understanding and approval.
4. File in your application
You have various options to file a patent namely –
• Design and utility patents can be filed online through the web application
• All 3 patents – utility, design and plant patent can be filed through post.
• Once you file the patent, you will have to fill the associated fees with the new patent filing. Fee varies based on the type of application you need and whether or not you have selected expedite processing.
• The decision process takes time and you will have to wait. You can even pay additional fee for expedite processing.