The Patent Process: Protecting Your Property

Information About the Patent Process

The patent process can be complex and knowing where to begin and how to responsibly pursue your inventions in a cost-responsible manner is not always easy, particularly for first-time inventors. Patents give an inventor the right to exclude others from making or selling an invention, design, or plant during the term of a patent. A certified U.S. patent may only be granted to an inventor after prosecution through the U.S. Patent Office.

The U.S. Patent Office requires lawyers practicing before it to have highly skilled technical or engineering degrees, as well as a certification confirming their expertise with the federal patent procedures.

Here’s a quick guide to the process and how the experts at Keaty Patent Firm can help you every step of the way.

Search of Patentability

One of the first steps in obtaining strong patent protection on a concept is to conduct a patentability search on the invention. After receiving and reviewing the results of the search, the inventor and the patent attorney can meet to discuss potentially filing an application on the concept. Our firm will not charge any additional fees to the inventor, nor will we undertake any additional projects, unless specific instructions are received from the client authorizing our firm to move forward. We are here to serve you.

Patent Application Drafting and Filing

As a general rule, a patent application is filed with a description of the invention, drawings the illustrate the concept, and one or more claims that define the legal rights of the patent owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention in the United States for twenty years from the date of filing in the Patent Office.

Our firm works exclusively on non-provisional applications but would be pleased to discuss the particulars of any inventor’s situation, including the possibility of converting a provisional application to a non-provisional application, upon request.

Patent Prosecution in the USPTO

Once an application is filed in the U.S. Patent Office, it is assigned to a government-employed patent attorney, known as an “Examiner,” within the appropriate technological field in the Patent Office. This Examiner will perform a search through previously-filed applications, issued patents, and publicly available products to determine whether the applicant’s claims are new and inventive.

Typically, the attorney, in cooperation with the inventor, will prepare a substantive memorandum for the Examiner’s review (known as an “Office Action Response”).

Obtaining Issuance of a U.S. Patent

If the Examining Attorney in the Patent Office is convinced that the filed application is new and inventive, the Examiner will issue a “Notice of Allowance” on the application. The Notice confirms that the application will issue as a U.S. Patent in due course if certain federal fees are paid to the Patent and Trademark Office.

International Patent Filing under the PCT

Unlike the United States, almost all foreign countries that offer patent protection generally require that a patent application be filed prior to any public disclosure of the invention. However, there is a membership of 149 countries, covering most developed countries in the world, that allows for the filing of an international application after public disclosure.  This system of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (“PCT”)

Our firm would be pleased to meet with any inventor interested in such an international filing to discuss the specifics of the filing and the appropriate PCT procedures in detail.

What’s Next?

Now that you have a general idea of what to expect during the patent process, we invite you to contact us or explore our website to see if the patent journey is right for you. Contact the Keaty Patent Firm today to discuss your options.

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