It used to be that an inventor could write up their invention and put it in a self-addressed, stamped envelope and mail it to him or herself. This constituted a sort of proof that they were the first one to invent something. But that all changed with the new Patent Law.
The Patent Office no longer cares who invented first. The Patent Office only cares who files their patent application first.
Wait...so you're saying that even if I invent something before anyone else does, someone else could patent my invention and prevent me from getting a patent for my own invention?
That's right. The new Patent Law made it imperative that you file a patent application as soon as possible - or you risk losing all rights to your invention.
So how do I protect my invention?
We can help.
Not sure where to start? Let us help.
A patent search is a good place to start an invention protection strategy. The patent search (sometimes called a "prior art search") can help find if anything else already exists that is the same or even similar to your invention.
You cannot patent something that already exists, or obvious variations. Remember, prior art is anything that has already been published or is otherwise available at any time before filing your patent application with the US Patent Office.
Most investors or companies you want to pitch your idea to will require that you have a patent search and attorney opinion letter. Our $500 Patent Search includes both.
Provisional Patent Application
Filing a provisional patent application gets a filing date with the US Patent Office and one (1) year of Patent Pending Status for your invention. A provisional patent application automatically goes abandoned 1 year to the day after filing.
Filing a provisional patent application may be a good option if you need protection right away or if you have a limited budget. It has no formal requirements and therefore can be prepared much faster than a full utility patent application.
Filing a provisional patent application may be a good option if you want to protect the invention with patent pending status while you test and further develop the invention (you can file multiple provisional patent applications within the one-year time for filing a full utility application), or if you want to protect the invention with patent pending status while you test whether there is a market for your invention.
Full Patent Application
The utility patent application is a regular patent application that will be examined by the US Patent Office. If the Examiner finds the claims allowable, the patent may issue. I say “may” issue, because a government issue fee has to be paid before the patent will go to issue.
Design patent applications are often overlooked because they are limited in protection. That is, a design patent protects one design as shown in the application (and perhaps minor modifications. A design patent will not prevent others from coming up with their own design for the same thing (e.g., a different design for a lamp). However, it can be used to thwart copy-cats, and this can be an important element of your strategy.
Patent Attorney Mark Trenner has been helping inventors protect their inventions for over 20 years
Patent Attorney Mark Trenner is licensed as an attorney to practice before the US Patent Office. Mr. Trenner has over 20 years experience helping individuals, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses prepare, file, and prosecute patent applications.
Do you need a patent attorney that can help with your next project? Due to high demand, we are not always available to take on new clients. So call today to find out if Trenner Law Firm can assist you.
Use our Online Law Firm to work with us no matter where you are. Talk with us from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule.
Want to visit with a patent attorney face-to-face? Try our free video conference. No special software required. We will send you a link to our online conference room.
Still have questions, but not ready to talk to an attorney? Our free Inventor Guide answers many common questions about the patent process.
Learn how Trenner Law Firm may be able to help you secure patent protection for your invention. Talk to a registered Patent Attorney. Available M-F 8a-5p EST
Patent Law is federal law. Everything happens at the US Patent Office (headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, with satellite offices in Dallas, Denver, Detroit, and San Jose). But it does not matter where the US Patent Office is located physically. Everything is filed online. Nor does it matter where you are, or where your patent attorney is.
Trenner Law Firm works with clients throughout the United States and around the world.
Being an online law firm with offices in Colorado and Tennessee, we are able to offer high-quality work at lower prices than many East Coast or West Coast law firms.