Have you invented something that you believe there’s a market for? If so, getting it patented will ensure that others aren’t able to make money off your invention.
Often acquiring a patent can seem confusing and intimidating. Fortunately, our expert team at Goldstein Patent Law can smoothly guide you through the patent process, making sure your business goals are met via a custom legal strategy.
While no two patents are ever the same, the process to secure one generally follows the same flow. If you decide to work with Goldstein Patent Law, here’s a basic breakdown of what you can expect.
You’ll start by speaking with someone on our project development team about your invention. This introductory call will serve as a fact-finding session. During this conversation, we’ll help you determine if a patent evaluation (the next step in our process) makes sense for your goals. This call generally runs 30 minutes to one hour.
You can book this by calling [need phone number] or on our website, on a day and time that works best for you.
Patent Evaluation I: Kick-off Meeting
If you do decide to move forward after the discovery call, you’ll meet with one of our patent attorneys. This is when we’ll dive deeper into the details of your invention. Of course, this will be done in confidence to protect your idea.
We’ll evaluate how likely you are to secure a patent, and which category of patent your invention would fall under. We’ll also discuss your overall business plan and goals for your invention.
Depending on what comes up during the call, we might compile follow-up questions, or request more information, too. This initial call usually lasts about one hour.
Patent Evaluation II: Prior Art Search
Next our team will comb through public archives for evidence that the invention already exists. This research is called a “prior art search.” If prior art that matches your invention does indeed exist, and it properly describes all aspects of the invention, a patent application would most likely not be granted.
The sources of prior art usually include patents, published patent applications, periodicals, books, and products. By far the most common prior art used by Examiners at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are patent publications and previously granted patents..
Our team expertly searches each form of prior art, proactively finding potential legal hurdles. This lays the critical groundwork for your patent strategy.
This research phase typically takes 2 weeks to complete.
Patent Evaluation III: Findings
Determining how strong an invention’s chances are of getting a successful patent granted requires a very specific skill set that our attorneys have honed over the years. Once this essential research and legwork is completed, we’ll schedule an hour-long follow-up meeting to share what our prior art search has uncovered.
If we decide that moving forward with the patent is still in alignment with your goals, we’ll further refine the strategy and determine next steps.
Generally there are two ways forward at this stage—a provisional patent application or a non-provisional patent application.
Provisional Patent Application
A provisional patent application allows you to establish an early filing date on record—but it does not grant any legal protection for your invention. This can be a good option if you are concerned that others may steal your idea soon, but need more time to finalize your invention.
One of our seasoned attorneys will prepare your provisional patent application. We’ll also prepare all the required filling forms and have a draftsman create your patent drawings.
Once the draft application has been prepared, you’ll review and approve it. After that, we’ll file your application with the USPTO.
An important distinction to highlight about the provisional patent application is that it’s just an optional first step toward a non-provisional patent application. A provisional patent application by itself will not mature into a granted patent, which is what provides true legal protection for your idea. The process to prepare and file a provisional patent application generally takes four to six months.
Please note that once a provisional application has been filed, you have 12 months to convert it to a non-provisional application. We will be in contact with you at key dates throughout this process to decide if you’d like to convert your provisional patent application into a non-provisional patent application.
Generally, it takes about three months to convert a provisional patent application to a non-provisional patent application.
Non-Provisional Patent Application
A granted patent entitles you to pursue legal action against anyone who infringes on your invention. The application process is similar to that of the provisional patent application, only with less steps involved as you’re cutting out the provisional application completely.
One of our attorneys will prepare your non-provisional patent application—and we’ll have a draftsman create your patent drawings.
Once the draft application has been prepared, you’ll review and approve it. After that, we’ll file your application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This application process generally takes four to six months.
Other Things to Know About Your Patent Protection
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the patent application process and how our team can help, there are a few other aspects of patents that are useful to understand.
International Patent Application (PCT)
Once we’ve successfully filed your patent application, we’ll contact you to discuss whether an international patent application makes sense for your invention. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) allows you to seek patent protection in countries which are signatories of the PCT.
Our team will contact you about the PCT application nine months after filing a non-provisional patent application, or eight months after the filing of a provisional patent application.
Prosecution of Patent Application
After your non-provisional patent application has been filed, a Patent Examiner at the USPTO will review your patent application. The process of applying for a patent and interacting with the USPTO is referred to as “patent prosecution.”
It usually takes 18-24 months from the date of filing a patent to receive an Office Action—a comparison between your invention and prior art. Once an Office Action has been issued, we will contact you and discuss the best path forward for responding.
A response, which we will prepare after connecting with you, must be filed within three to six months after the Office Action has been issued. It’s important to note that in some cases several rounds of actions and responses might be needed to receive approval for your patent application. Our team is well versed in this back and forth and will guide you through each step.
Enforcement of Patent Rights
Once your patent application is granted it becomes an issued U.S. Patent. This patent lasts for 20 years from the earliest filing date, and entitles you to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention throughout the U.S., or importing the invention into the U.S.
There are certain date-based milestones where filing fees are required to maintain the patent (3.5 years, 7.5 years and 11.5 years). We will contact you prior to each payment deadline to ensure your patent is maintained.
Summing Up the Patent Process
I hope that after reading this blog, you feel more confident about proceeding with your patent application. And while a patent won’t be granted overnight, our team of experts at Goldstein Patent Law will go the extra mile to successfully secure the patent protection your invention deserves.
Contact us today for your free consultation.