If you have a great idea for a new product or service, you may have heard that you need to get a patent. Unfortunately, if you haven’t attended business school, then you may not know where to begin to have that patent filed.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here is the process to follow, as well as a general timeline for awarding, a patent.
Preliminary Ideas And Searches
We aren’t going to waste a lot of time here, because we assume that you’ve already gone this far. However, it should go without saying that you’ll need to have an idea and do some preliminary searches before you begin filing for a patent. If your idea has already been created and patented, then you will have to change your plans. In addition, searching for other patents may give you additional ideas as well.
Have A Mockup Or Prototype
The next step that you’ll want to follow is having a mockup or prototype created for your idea. If you have experience working with CAD programing or you can draw your own designs, this may not be a problem. However, not having this experience likely means that you’ll need to get assistance. Since you don’t have your patent yet, be sure to have the other person sign a non-disclosure agreement before you show them anything. This documentation will protect you in the time it takes to have your patent filed.
Provisional Patent Filing
A provisional patent isn’t going to be what you build your invention around, but it’ll be enough to at least buy you some time while working on other elements. For example, a provisional patent can be filed while you look for investors or as you begin marketing your product. The safety that comes from a previsional patent will add protection against others stealing your idea, even though it still needs to be filed as a non-provisional patent as well.
Within one year of filing for a provisional patent, it’s imperative that investors get non-provisional patents as well. This is the real patent that you will use for years to come, and it will acknowledge you as the creator of the product or service. Again, it’s imperative that this is filed within one year of the provisional patent, or else it could lead to legal issues for the inventor.
Also, mark your calendar for 20 years from now, because that’s when patents expire on ideas. At this point, the patent is no longer valid for the product that was made.
During the time that the patent is valid, licenses made be sold to others who are interested in the product or service. Investors then make money off of the selling of licenses, in addition to a royalty in some cases as well.
The patent process is something that simply cannot be overlooked when coming up with a new invention. To ensure the safety of your idea, be sure to consider this timeline for awarding a patent.