Most people who want to patent a product approach the process of patenting a product with no real sense of how the process of patenting a product works. There are essentially three phases of the process of patenting a product:
Again, let’s start with a simple understanding. If you have even the slightest suspicion that you want to patent a product, you need to hire and get legal advice from a patent lawyer or a patent agent. This blog is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer or your agent. I am not providing you with any legal advice, representation, or counsel. You and I have no attorney-client relationship. The purpose of this blog is to introduce you to the vocabulary that you will need when you got to a patent attorney and ask him to help you patent your product.
- Application preparation and filing
The first phase of patenting a product is preparing a patent application for your product. How long this takes depends on how much time you have to devote to the process of patenting your product and how much you are willing to spend on getting the work done by a patent lawyer or a patent agent.
- The long wait
The process of patenting a product involves two real misfortunes. The first of those misfortunes is that the process almost always takes longer than anyone believes to be possible. It is not uncommon in some technology areas for the patent applicant who is trying to patent a product to be forced to wait two or three years between the filing of his application and the first time that the United States Patent and Trademark Office offers an opinion on whether the applicant should be able to patent the product.
How long you will have to wait to patent your product depends on the type of product. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has very large backlogs of applications from people who are trying to patent products in software and computer systems. There are significantly shorter wait times in many of the mechanical technology areas. Your experience will depend considerably on what product you are trying to patent.
- Patent prosecution
Sometime after your patent application is filed, the process patent application prosecution begins. When you are trying to patent a product, you prepare an application describing your invention and making “Claims” that are statements of what parts or aspects of your product you believe are patentable. The United States Patent and Trademark Office then takes a look at the other products that are related to your product and sends you a decision on whether your product is patentable. This decision on whether or not your product is patentable is called an “Office Action.” If the patent and trademark office decides not to grant a patent on your product, then there is a negotiation between you (or your lawyer) and the patent examiner. You have the choice to make adjustments to the claims in your application (called an amendment) or to argue with the examiner that he was wrong in denying you a patent on your product. This process can go several rounds and last anywhere from six months to five years.
Remember: This blog is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer or your agent. I am not providing you with any legal advice, representation, or counsel.