One major consideration in the patent process is whether or not you have a working prototype with which to experiment. ~ Jar Kuznecov
What is one consideration before applying for a patent?
To help you consider what goes into applying for a patent, we asked lawyers and successful entrepreneurs this question for their best insights. From only disclosing your product if there is a non-disclosure agreement in place to creating a working prototype, there are several tips that may help you prepare for your patent application in the future.
Here are eight things to consider before applying for a patent:
- Only Disclose Product if a Non-Disclosure Agreement is in Place
- Ensure Your Patent Would Be Financially Valuable
- Determine the Category of Your Invention
- Have a Lawyer Fill Out Your Application
- Check to See if Your Invention is Patentable
- Understand Your Deadlines and Time-Frame
- Research Patent Databases First
- Create a Working Prototype
Only Disclose Product if a Non-Disclosure Agreement is in Place
It’s important to file your patent application before you disclose the product to anyone without a non-disclosure agreement. There are strict laws that prevent your application from being approved if you’ve disclosed the product (by selling, distributing, or presenting) 12 months before the application is filed with the patent and trademark office. So make sure the only people who are privy to your invented product are under non-disclosure agreements, as those prevent the 12 month window from starting.
Dan Bladen, Kadence
Ensure Your Patent Would Be Financially Valuable
Not all patents are created equal since some protect wholly new inventions while the majority cover incremental adjustments to existing inventions. As mentioned in the patent guide, this makes it difficult to assign a monetary value to a single patent. What is evident is that not all patents have monetary worth. As a result, you must be certain that the potential for profit outweighs the time, effort, and money required to get and maintain a patent. You should also ensure that the protection provided by a patent will help prevent imitation in the markets you are interested in.
Kenny Kline, BarBend
Determine the Category of Your Invention
Since not all inventions are patentable, the US patent and trademark office will reject your request if your idea isn’t novel and useful. Before submitting your patent application, find out which category your invention falls under. These include utility, design, software, and plant, which guide the correct type of patent as patents can fall under provisional, non-provisional, or international patents. Additionally, the invention shouldn’t incorporate ideas considered abstract, are a result of natural phenomena, or have been published on any media.
Ryan Yount, Luckluckgo
Have a Lawyer Fill Out Your Application
Laws are complex. Laws related to patents are outrageously complex. There are attorneys who specialize in patent law. You should always turn to them and rely on their knowledge and guidance before sending an application. In fact, not only should you remain in contact with your patent attorney during the application process, it really should be the attorney who fills out the application. If you’re an inventor or engineer, you need to explain every detail to the attorney. Anything left open to interpretation in the application can go sideways on the applicant. Everything needs to be explained precisely – which is a specialty of any accomplished patent attorney. In the end, make sure the attorney knows what makes your invention unique. That needs to be explicitly stated in every patent application.
Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law
Check to See if Your Intention is Patentable
One consideration before applying for a patent is the patentability of the invention. The invention must be new, useful, and not obvious in order to be patented. Additionally, the patent application must be complete and filed within one year of the invention being made public. When considering whether to apply for a patent, it is important to first understand what a patent covers. A patent is a type of intellectual property that grants the inventor the exclusive right to make, use, and sell an invention for a certain period of time. In order to be granted a patent, the invention must be novel, non-obvious, and disclose the best mode of carrying out the invention.
Richard Morgan, Cyclone Computers
Understand Your Deadlines and Time-Frame
One important thing to consider before applying for a patent is the list of deadlines. The patent process can be fairly complex with many different deadlines that must be met. Missing one deadline could set your patent application back several months; or worse, it could be rejected altogether. Researching the timeframe of your application will give you a clear understanding of what is expected before you start your application process. This way you will be prepared to file the proper forms and provide the necessary information on time without worry of missing a deadline or rushing your application.
Shaun Conrad, My Accounting Course
Research Patent Databases First
Before wasting a lot of time and money, I propose searching patent databases on the internet. This will assist you in determining whether or not your invention has already been made. It is also possible that after the grant of a patent, evidence indicating your innovation was already known (known as ‘prior art’) will be discovered. If this occurs, your patent will be rendered null and void.
Josh Pelletier, BarBend
Create a Working Prototype
One major consideration in the patent process is whether or not you have a working prototype with which to experiment. This would allow for an easier provenance of your concept and could lead to faster approval if it has been deemed innovative enough by the government’s standards.
Jar Kuznecov, Water Softeners Hub