How do I begin the patent process to patent my idea? 4 Answers as of February 14, 2011

I need to patent my idea and I do not even know where to begin. Can you please help?

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
You cant patent an idea - just the embodiment of it. Basically to get a patent you must disclose how to make and use it in text and drawings. When you have gotten to that point in your head then it is time to file for the patent after a patent search.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 2/14/2011
Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
The first thing to keep in mind is to keep your ideas confidential.

That being said, probably the best way to begin the patent process is to see if the idea is new. Only new ideas can be patented. However, keep in mind that the expression of an old idea may be protectable by the copyright law, and whether or not this would be useful to you is something you can explore with your attorney.

Patent attorneys can help you find out whether something is new, by having a professional search performed. However, you are well advised to use the excellent resources on the Internet to gather some preliminary information. Try your hand at the various types of searches available at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website (United States Patent and Trademark Office.gov). Also try searching Google and its specialized patent database.

If you think your idea is old, don't rush to conclusions. Sometimes subtle differences may be important commercially and protectable legally. You should consult with an experienced patent attorney to help decide whether there is something on which it is worth pursuing a patent. Selecting an attorney in practice for a substantial number of years is useful as that will enable you to also obtain a business perspective on the value of what might be available to be patented.

If you have reached the point where you believe that something patentable may be worth pursuing in a patent application, an attorney can help you drafting that document and producing the drawings required.

Patent applications are generally invoiced by the hour of attorney time spent writing the application, although some practitioners will offer a fixed fee. You should be careful if the fixed fee is on the low side, because this may mean that only a minimal amount of time is going into preparation of the application, and the quality of the job may suffer, perhaps seriously. On the other hand, an excessively high fee probably means that you would be paying too much for the work, unless there are some special problems or a great deal of detail with which to deal. Common sense in the evaluation of a few proposals is a reliable guide here.

After the application is filed, it is likely that some argument and adjustment of the application will be necessary in order to obtain the patent. You can expect follow-up costs to be about one third of the cost of the original filing. However, you may have to do this more than once to obtain a patent having reasonable strength and breath. There is also the possibility of an appellate filing if the patent examiner refuses patent protection to which you reasonably believe you are entitled. You should discuss the status of the case with your attorney as you proceed through the process so that he is aware of your objectives and tailors his approach to efficiently achieving your objectives.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/14/2011
DANIEL NESBITT
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
An inventions is an article, device, machine, composition, or a method of making or using such, which can be described in sufficient detail to inform others how to make and use it.. To be patentable, the invention must be new and not obvious over what has already been published, used or known. There are numerous on-line resources to help an inventor to understand the working basics of the patent system and the procedures for obtaining a patent. Studying these will help you when then discuss the invention with a patent attorney (or patent agent, if you wish). If your matter is under urgent timing, then you may need to call a patent attorney promptly. You may contact me, though another patent attorney can assist you. Obtaining valuable patent rights come at a cost, both in your time, and in the expense of having a patent attorney assess your situation, advise you on your options, and prepare the patent application.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/13/2011
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
Patenting process involves conducting a prior art search, drafting a patent application, and prosecuting the application to issuance. There are two different utility patent applications, (1) provisional and (2) non-provisional. The cost for provisional application is considerably less than the non-provisional application. Ordinarily a patent agent or a patent attorney is engaged to draft and prosecute the application, but the inventor may file and prosecute the application himself/herself.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/12/2011
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