Having a good idea that can improve people’s lives or the way something is done does not require huge sums of money or advanced credentials. Plenty of ordinary citizens have developed products, services, and procedures that impact our lives in both big and small ways. When you have an invention that you worked hard on and believe in, you want to make sure it is protected and that credit for it goes to the rightful owner. At the Johnston Law Firm, we help inventors get patents for their developments, an important first step in bringing your idea or product to market. While the patent process may seem complicated, we can help guide you through the process, advising you on the necessary steps to ensure your idea is protected.
Qualifying For A Patent
A patent grants an inventor exclusive rights to their product, service, or process, protecting them against those who would steal or misappropriate their idea. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in order to qualify for a patent, your invention must meet the following criteria:
- The product or process must be of practical use;
- The idea itself must have some novel characteristic, involving a new way of doing things or taking a different approach than is currently used;
- The invention must include a step that would not necessarily have been discovered or considered by regular users or the general public;
- It must be accepted as something that can be patented under law, as opposed to a theory or a natural substance that is excluded from patent rights.
Filing Your Patent Applications
Making sure your invention qualifies for a patent is the first step in the patent application process. Your next step is then to be sure that your idea has not already been patented. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recommends consulting with an experienced attorney when conducting your patent search, to ensure all previous public disclosures, foreign patents, and printed publications are reviewed. Once you are completely certain that your invention has not already been patented, you will need to determine the type of patent you need to apply for. The USPTO lists three basic types of patents:
- Utility Patent: Used for any new and useful type of process, machine, manufacture or composition of matters;
- Design Patent: Used for new, original, or ornamental manufacturing designs;
- Plant Patent: Used for inventions and asexual reproductions of new plant varieties.
Once you have decided on the type of patent you need, you can then choose the type of application you want to file. A provisional application is an inexpensive and fast way to establish a patent filing date and allows extra time for experimentation or to get money from investors, while a non-provisional application is more costly and requires you to be more specific about the product you have invented. Preparing these applications can be tricky, and the USPTO recommends consulting with an attorney to avoid any potential delays.
We Can Help You Today
If you have an idea or invention you want to protect, contact our experienced patent attorney to get the professional legal assistance you need to guide you through the patent application process. We can help you choose the type of patent that is best suited to your invention, while making sure the appropriate application is filed correctly, avoiding delays that could cost you both time and money. We serve Portland and the surrounding areas; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.