Patent FAQs

How Does the Patenting Process Work?

Is my idea Patentable?

The first step in the patenting process is to determine if you idea is patentable. Some questions you need to ask yourself...

  • Will a patent protect my idea?
  • Has my idea already patented or publicly disclosed by somebody else? This is determined by a limited patent search.
  • Did I try to sell my idea or publicly disclose it more than twelve months ago?

Should I hire a Patent Attorney?

  • If you have determined your idea IS patentable, you should hire a patent attorney. Only a patent attorney or patent agent can submit a patent application to the PTO for you.
  • The patenting process can be very confusing and at times overwhelming. You should have an experienced trusted legal team to guide you through the process.

What is a "LPS"

  • LPS stands for limited patent search.

What fees can I expect?

  • $500 for the government filing fees.
  • $200 for the miscellaneous fees such as copies, postage, phone calls, faxes, emails, etc.
  • $200-$500 for the patent drawings. The patent drawings are special drawings that the PTO requires and must be within strict guidelines before the PTO will accept them.
  • $5,500+++ for attorney's fees to draft, review, and revise the patent application. The fees are based on the difficulty of the patent application and the amount of time necessary to draft a solid patent application.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a grant of a limited monopoly right in your invention and provides an owner with the power to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing your patented invention. This power is granted to you for twenty years from your patent application filing date for a utility patent application regardless of whether it was filed first by a provisional patent application or non-provisional patent application. Patents can also be issued for designs.

What is a Utility Patent?

A utility Patent protects useful features (functionality) of an invention. The life of a utility patent is 20 years from its filing date. Utility patent applications offer the most protection for inventions. In addition to standard (non-provisional) patent applications, provisional patent applications offer inventors one year to initiate the patent process at a reduced cost, but with limitations. Provisional patent applications allow additional time to market and develop the invention, but delays the issuance of the actual patent.

  • A utility patent is for any useful, non-obvious
    • Process
    • Machine
    • Article of manufacture
    • Composition of matter
    • Chemical composition
    • Business process or method
    • Computer software
  • Gives you "Patent Pending" status.

What is a Design Patent?

A design patent protects the decorative characteristics of an invention for 14 years. Design patents can be sought in addition to utility patents because of the different types of protections. If appearance matters most, file a design patent.

  • Covers the shape characteristic of an object.
  • Is intended to protect the ornamental and cosmetic aspects of an invention.
  • Does not cover the function of an object.
  • The amount of protection a design patent gives is based almost entirely from the drawings, not the words.
  • Gives you "Patent Pending" status.

What is a Provisional Patent Application?

  • A Provisional Patent Application ("PPA") is NOT a PATENT but actually a 12 month extension.
  • It allows you the time to raise funds, sell your idea or just disclose it to anyone without fear of your idea being taken.
  • An application filed with the Patent Office must be converted into a utility patent application one year after it is filed otherwise the filing date is lost.
  • Gives you "Patent Pending" status.