When should I try to get a patent? 10 Answers as of October 12, 2012

If I'm working on something that isn't completely finished but I know will work, can I start the application process or do I need to wait until it is done?

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Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
The current rule is "first to file". The patent office provides a "Provisional" patent application that give you one year to complete the design before filing a "Non-provisional" or "Utility" application. You should file as-soon-as-possible to ensure that someone else does not file before you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/12/2012
Yang & Wang, P.C.
Yang & Wang, P.C. | Tommy Wang
You can start the application process.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/12/2012
Shimokaji & Associates
Shimokaji & Associates | Michael Shimokaji
To apply for a patent, you do not have to have everything "finished". But you need to have enough details so that someone else can make and use your invention.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/10/2012
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Your patent will cover what you disclose to the patent attorney at the time he writes the patent. if your eventual design drifts too far outside these bounds your invention may not be covered.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 10/9/2012
Tran & Associates | Bao Tran
You should get patent application as soon as you can to prevent others from copying you. This is important as we move into the First to File era.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/9/2012
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    Your question is too broad to answer in its present form. You can apply for a patent once you have "enabled" your invention-that means that you must be able to write a patent specification that teaches others how to successfully practice your invention without undue experimentation. The problem with filing before you are finished with your work is that your patent application may leave important details out-and if you add them later you may lose your filing date. These are rather complex issues, and you need to retain intellectual property counsel to work through them. There often is no wrong or right answer, and instead, you need to make strategic choices based on the particular facts and circumstances of your case. There is no substitute in a situation like this for having legal counsel. If you try to handle this without retaining counsel it will be disastrous for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/9/2012
    DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
    You can start now or wait. Your submitted description of the invention as claimed has to meet certain full-and-complete description and enablement requirements of the Law. But Beware. Your invention will be examined and deemed patentable based on the "prior art" available on the date you file your US patent application. The longer you wait, the greater that change that prior art (including publications, public use by others, and the recent patent applications of other persons) might become "prior art" against your invention.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 10/9/2012
    Eminent IP, P.C.
    Eminent IP, P.C. | Paul C. Oestreich
    It is advisable to file a patent application at the earliest time you have a definite concept of the invention that is reducable to practice. Under the new patent law, the America Invents Act (AIA), it is now more critical than ever before to file your patent application early to preserve your patent rights.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/9/2012
    Ochoa and Associates
    Ochoa and Associates | Susan Ochoa Spiering
    generally, the earlier the better. You do not have to have your prototype completed to begin to draft your application.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/9/2012
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