How can I know whether my invention is eligible for a patent?

To be eligible for a patent, your invention needs to meet parameters given by the government. In a country like the United States, the entire process of getting a patent is lengthy. So, it’s advisable to check whether your invention is patentable or not before applying. It helps you in dealing with the entire process hassle-free.

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Why is a patent filing important?

A patent is a legal document that gives you exclusive rights over your invention. It prevents anyone from claiming your invention. Any invention needs hard work and time. So, a patent prevents you from letting your hard work go in vain.

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How do I apply for a patent in the US?

The application process for a patent in the US involves several steps. Here are all those steps.

1) Search for Patent Office

Your first task is to decide which country you want to protect your invention. If you are going to protect your invention in the US, you can file a patent application through USPTO. USTOP is the governing body in the US for all your intellectual property protection requirements.

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What factors does the USPTO consider when deciding whether to grant a patent application?

When you apply for a patent in the US for your invention, you should be aware of the criteria that USPTO considers for approving an issued patent. It gives you an idea whether your invention is patentable or not.

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Who can apply for a patent?

Well, anyone who has invented a new product or process, etc., can apply for a patent. It helps get full ownership of the invention and prevents its misuse. Once you get the patent rights, it makes you entitled to use your invention commercially and thus paves the way for earning.

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Is it possible to increase the patent's protection period?

A patent is generally issued only for a fixed term, and it cannot be extended. For example, a utility patent is issued for up to 20 years, which comes into effect from the date of first filing of application.

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What can be patented and what can't?

Once you have invented a new thing, you want to patent it to get full ownership of it. But you should know that everything cannot be patented. So, it is advisable to check whether your invention is eligible to get a patent or not before applying.

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Is it viable to patent my software application that operates on a mobile phone?

Software development is a highly valuable task that needs time and effort. It involves lots of research work and a lot of coding. Apart from this, the entire software development process may also need enormous investment.

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What if I want to file patents in several countries?

To protect your invention in various nations, you will have two options to move ahead. First, you can prepare and file your application directly in those countries of interest. Second, you can do it with the help of PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty).

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What is a patent application?

A patent application is a written request to grant a patent for an innovation that is unique. It includes various necessary and supporting documents asked by the concerned department.

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What are the differences between patents, industrial designs, trademarks, and copyrights?

The terms such as patents, industrial designs, trademarks, and copyrights are often confusing for a lot of business owners, and they don’t know what types of rights they should apply.

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Where can I find patent information?

If you want to patent your innovation, you should first gather as much information as you can. Without adequate information, you will not accomplish the task appropriately. The fling application needs lots of formalities to be completed.

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When do I need to file my foreign applications?

Well, one can apply for a foreign patent application only after a certain period of applying in their country. If you reside in the US, then you should first apply for the patent in the United States.

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What role does WIPO play regarding patents?

Well, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), headquartered in Geneva, is one of the well-known agencies associated with 193 member states. It doesn’t grant patent rights to the applicant, which is the main responsibility of regional or national patent offices.

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What does "licensing a patent" entail, and why is it done?

A patent license is an agreement that enables an individual to use their invention commercially. To use your intellectual property commercially to earn money, you have to get the patent licensed first and foremost.

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How can you get a patent all around the world?

You can get a patent across the world either by filing your patent application directly to your targeted country or can file your application through The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

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What is the best way to check the status of my pending patent application?

The “Public Patent Application Information Retrieval” (PAIR) portal (on the USPTO website is the best way to check the status of your pending patent application. You can access your pending application status and history at any time. After your application is published (18 months), others can view your pending application as well.

Can I talk to a potential investor about the details of my invention before submitting a patent application?

It is not advisable to disclose or provide details of your invention to anyone prior to submitting a patent application. At a minimum, if you do plan to disclose your invention to others, you should have a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in place first. In 2013, the United States passed the America Invents Act that changed the system from being a “first-to-invent” to a “first-to-file” system.

How can I get a complete patent file history?

You can visit the Public PAIR website. You can search for your patent application using the application or publication number. Then, you can view the complete patent file history under the “Image File Wrapper” tab.

What are the costs of obtaining a patent?

The cost of earning a patent in the US depends upon:

  • The entity status of the inventor (based on income and number of patents already issued).
  • The Official Fee charged by the USPTO) for search and examination of the application.
  • A Professional Fee charged by the patent attorney for drafting the application.

Are “trade secrets” patent protection alternatives?

Yes, trade secret can protect valuable and secret information of the invention. However, the trade secrets must be rigorously protected and come with specific legal requirements. One significant issue with trade secrets is that, if a trade secret is released to the public (e.g., by theft, a disgruntled employee, or from hacking), legal protection of your invention is severely limited.

What Is the average time it takes to earn a patent?

In the US, it takes anywhere from 12-36 months to earn a patent after filing the patent application. Results are never guaranteed, however. The time for a patent examination is based on the complexity of the application and the art unit the application was applied in. The USPTO also has a prioritized examination program where your application is guaranteed to be examined within 6-12 months for an additional fee.

How can worldwide patents be obtained?

While there is no program that allow you to file one patent for worldwide coverage. You can either file a separate application in each specific country of your choice or you can file a patent application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in several countries while using a single application.

What does it mean by patent pending status?

After filing a patent, the patent prosecution may take 2-3 years to complete and get a granted patent. Your patent application is under patent pending status during this period. However, you may make public disclosure of your invention. You can also use your invention to make and sell products.

What is a patent?

A patent is a type of intellectual property right. It prevents others from using, selling, or making the invention. One must file a patent application with USPTO and follow the rules to get a granted patent.

How can patents enhance the commercial value of ideas?

Patent rights give the inventor a monopoly of using the invention for 20 years. It excludes others from using the invention protected by an active patent. A patent protects the unique features of your product. Exclusive product features may be helpful in a competitive market in generating revenue.

Where should I file for patent protection?

You can file your patent application on official website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). USPTO is a federal agency for granting patents in the US.

Can you get a patent in a jurisdiction you are not a citizen or resident?

Yes, you can file a patent application in any jurisdiction regardless of citizenship or residency status. However, you may need to follow country-specific guidelines to file for patent protection.

What is the Paris Convention?

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property is a global agreement regarding patent protection and other forms of Intellectual Property. There are 178 members countries to this agreement. One of the main aims of this treaty is to recognize countries for priority dates established by applications filed in other signatory countries.

How are patent rights enforced?

The government of a country ensures the owner's patent rights through an appropriate legal and policy framework. In most jurisdictions, a court of law has the power to prevent patent infringement. The patent owner can monitor, detect, and prosecute patent infringers under the law.

Is it necessary to hire a patent attorney or agent to draft and file a patent application?

Applicants can prepare and file patent applications without the help of a patent attorney. However, due to the complexity of the patent processes and the legal skills required for drafting, filing, and prosecuting a patent application, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a patent attorney/agent throughout the process.

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