3 Things You Need to Know about Getting a Patent

Posted on: 8 July 2015

Creating a new invention can be extremely difficult. Not only do you need to conceive the idea, but you also have to find a way to produce the new creation so you can be certain it works as you think it will on paper. After you produce a working prototype, in order to protect your new invention from being stolen by someone else, you have to get a patent. Here are three things you need to know about getting a patent.

1. It is a lengthy process.

When it comes to getting a patent, you don't just fill out an application, pay a fee, and you automatically have a patent. It actually can take a long time to get your patent approved. Have you ever seen a product or commercial for a product that said "patent pending?" That means the inventor has applied for a patent, but has had the product mass-produced for sale in the meantime.

The truth is it can take anywhere between three to eight years to get a patent application approved—or even more. The US Patent Office has to go through each application and each invention with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it isn't a ripoff of someone else's patented invention, that it is safe, and that it works like the inventor says it does.

The amount of time it takes to get a patent approval depends on how busy the US Patent Office is. So be prepared to wait a while before you are awarded your patent.

2. Your US patent is only good in the US

One thing that many people don't realize about patents is that you have to get a patent in every country if you want to protect it from being counterfeited. That is a danger with releasing a product before you actually get a patent for it. You may think that no one will counterfeit your product, but if it sells rapidly, someone in a foreign country will want to cash in on your success.

You may want to work with a patent attorney who is experienced with international intellectual property law. They can help you apply for patents in as many countries as you would like. Just be aware that it is best to do this before you release your product for sale.

3. You need to be as detailed as possible in your patent application.

Because of how long it takes to get a patent approved, you need to make sure you don't leave anything out when you first file your application. You need to make sure you include as much detailed information about your invention as possible. That includes submitting diagrams of how the invention will look and how it will work (if applicable).

You also need to include extensive instructions on how to make your new invention. Everything needs to be clear and very detailed so the US Patent Office has a good idea of how your invention works. There are also various other things you need to include with your patent application, including an oath or declaration that you are the inventor of the invention you're seeking a patent for. Without all of this information, you run the risk of having your patent application denied.