A patent is a legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling a product or process. It protects inventions created by a person during the term of the patent.
A lot of people think that they need to file a patent application in order to protect their own work. However, this is incorrect. In most cases, you don’t need to file an application for your own invention; in fact, that would be very expensive and time consuming (and in some cases impractical).
The reason you need to file a patent application is so that others can’t make use of your invention without paying money for it.
The benefits of filing a patent application.
In the United States, a patent is a legal right granted by the US Patent IpPrism and Trademark Office (USPTO) to an inventor who claims to have invented a new and useful process, the machine, or composition of matter. This right lasts for the life of the inventor plus 70 years after his death.
The USPTO will grant patents, even if they were never filed or were not in existence when they were originally filed if it finds that the invention is new, conceptually novel, and/or improvements upon existing prior art. The USPTO also allows several “priority” filings (i.e., one filing for a single invention) within any given 60-day period, but does not allow multiple filings for the same invention within a single year.
For example: if you build your own camera and you apply for a patent in the US on this camera and in Japan on this camera with similar functions, you can easily have both valid claims in both countries at once.
However: A Japanese company cannot file more than one Japanese patent application on the same subject during any one year. Also: The same applies to persons who are joint inventors with another individual or entity (and thus jointly as well as personally owned).
The process for filing a patent application.
The process for filing a patent application can be divided into two distinct sections. The first is the filing of an application and the second is the examination of that application. The filing of the application itself is straightforward, but the examination process is more complicated.
The first thing to remember is that there are no fixed requirements for obtaining a patent. In fact, many countries have laws that prohibit anyone other than the inventor or assignee from filing an application for a patent (in order to protect users against obvious claims). This makes it very difficult to file a patent application in some places (for example, in Korea).
The second thing to remember is that applying for a patent can take anywhere from several months up to five years (although no matter how long it takes, you still need to apply).
Furthermore, if you are simply not sure whether you should apply for a patent at all or if you want it filed on your behalf by someone else, then being able to file an application on your own behalf can be invaluable.
Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck waiting years or even decades before someone else discovers your idea and then decides they want to file as your assignee and claim ownership of it.
The costs associated with filing a patent application.
In the past, a patent application was a costly, time-consuming, and expensive process. If a company wanted to file for a patent, it needed to hire an engineer who would write the patent application and another person who would do the actual filing.
This process is still costly and time-consuming, but at least now we can see that it’s not all that difficult or expensive. This is important because companies can take some comfort in knowing that their product is protected by a patent.
The first step in filing a patent application is actually very easy. You need to provide technical information about your product, including:
- Description (what you’re claiming as being different)
- Abstract (how you describe what you’re claiming as being different)
- Specifications (the details of how your product works)
- Applications (the details of how your product applies to specific cases)
Once you have completed these tasks, it is now possible to prepare your application and file it with the USPTO. The USPTO will then send out form Filing Information to all applicants who have submitted previously filed applications for patents or want to file one for their products or services.
It will also send out the form with instructions on how to use the form and how long to file before it does so (so if you are waiting until after Christmas/New Year’s Eve/Easter Sunday/whatever). Each applicant will receive this notification when they check their email inboxes each day.
Neither party has any control over when the application gets filed — it may take weeks or months depending on what happens during this whole process. However, many people are surprised that there are so many people who have already applied for patents on similar products; in fact, many patents had been filed by those very same people!
The most common reason people apply for patents on similar products is that they think they can make money from licensing their inventions — but I think none of us want to live in such a world where every single person goes around suing everyone else based on something he thought was valuable enough that he decided not just once but repeatedly should be patented too: “I didn’t steal anything! I just sold my invention!” And if we don’t want someone like Apple or Google using our idea in some way anyway… well, no one wants that either! It probably won’t happen — but even if someone
The types of patents that can be obtained.
There are two ways of filing a patent application: either before or after the patent is granted. The threshold to file an application, in either case, is $2,000. In both cases, it is not necessary to file a supporting affidavit. There is no minimum filing fee for any type of patent application.
In the first case, you must file your application within three years from the date of conception of the invention or use thereof. This does not apply to applications that are established by the prior art (i.e., it does not matter if filed before or after a prior art patent has been granted).
In the second case, you do not need to file a patent application if your invention was disclosed by one or more published articles or books in peer-reviewed journals and has been published in any other journal by that time (to which it has received a copy).