Invention tips from patent lawyers help inventors prepare for invention submission with the US Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). These tips range from determining if an invention is eligible for protection under the federal umbrella of patents (“clusivity”), the filing of an application, the drafting of an idea description (“design” or “process”), and submission to the USPTO. Although each of these steps can be complex, with many exceptions, there are four main components that should be addressed in each step.
Specifically, the inventors must determine if their invention is eligible for federal protection under the patent laws, identify the types of patents that apply to their invention, create a detailed description of the technology to be protected, and determine how to file the application for federal patent protection. Additionally, there are numerous aspects of proper filing that must be addressed, including: identifying the examiner’s terms of review, drafting a unique application form, submitting written statements of further information and data, and selecting a qualified attorney or patent attorney.
The inventor typically must submit their invention to the USPTO for patent consideration prior to filing a complete application for patent protection. This first step is not required, but it is encouraged, because a patent service company will review the invention and make certain it is not a “cloned” invention. If the USPTO determines that the invention is not novel, in addition to a disclosure of the invention to the Patent Office, the inventors must also submit a letter to the USPTO explaining why the invention is new rather than what the invention is capable of doing. Failure to include this additional information results in the invention being filed as an ‘alone’ application, rather than as part of a ‘complete’ invention.
For many inventors, the creation of a US patent is the most significant step in the invention process. Without a patent, there are few ways to profit from one’s idea. In addition, without a patent, a skilled person cannot legally compete with an unlicensed person for the rights to another’s invention. This is where an authorized partner can be extremely helpful, whether an inventor is self-employed or not.