how to patent idea without lawyer

by Hermina Blanda 10 min read

How to Protect Your Business Idea Without a Patent

  • Do your research. . Before you begin working with anyone new, be it an individual or organization, do some research...
  • Use these three legal tools -- with the help and oversight of an attorney:. Non-disclosure agreement (NDA): Have anyone...
  • Turn to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for help. . Fortunately, patents...

Fortunately, there's no rule that you must involve a patent attorney in the application process. If you have the time to personally commit to the process and willingness to learn the USPTO requirements, you can file an application on your own. This is known as being a “pro se” applicant.Jun 10, 2021

Full Answer

How do you patent a business idea without a patent?

Steps to Filing a Patent Application. 1. Keep a Written Record of Your Invention. Record every step of the invention process in a notebook. Describe and diagram every aspect and every ... 2. Make Sure Your Invention Qualifies for Patent Protection. 3. Assess the Commercial Potential of Your ...

How to file a patent for your invention?

Jul 05, 2021 · Step 1: Do a Patent Search. The first step towards getting a patent is to search the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s patent database to find similar ideas that have already been patented. On their homepage, hover over the “Patents” button and click on “PatFT.”.

Can ideas alone be patented?

Mar 30, 2000 · The decision to handle his own patents was an economic one; paying a lawyer $5,000 for each patent Stewart wanted to pursue would have meant legal bills exceeding $100,000. Stewart says he didn't ...

Can you file a patent without a lawyer?

Steps to Patent an Idea. 1. Keep a record of how you came up with the idea and your step by step progress. 2. Research your idea to make sure it is eligible for patenting under established patent law. 3. Make a prototype of your invention when filing a patent. 4.

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Can I file a patent on my own?

You can file a patent application on behalf of yourself or your co-inventors. Alternatively, you can hire a registered patent agent or attorney to file your application for you. Patent applications require both legal and technical expertise and even small mistakes can dramatically compromise the value of the patent.

How can I patent my idea for free?

You can file a patent online using the patent office's EFS-Web service. The USPTO's website includes detailed information on what should be in your application on its "General Information Concerning Patents" page under Inventors Resources and Guidance.

How do I patent an idea myself?

Steps to Filing a Patent ApplicationKeep a Written Record of Your Invention. Record every step of the invention process in a notebook. ... Make Sure Your Invention Qualifies for Patent Protection. ... Assess the Commercial Potential of Your Invention. ... Conduct a Thorough Patent Search. ... Prepare and File an Application With the USPTO.

What is the cheapest way to patent an idea?

Cheapest way to get a patentDo-It-Yourself (Draft it and File it Yourself) ... Cost of Filing It Yourself. ... Still To Expensive? ... Cost of Filing It Yourself. ... Fiverr & Other Low Cost Options. ... If Budgets Allow - The Better Option Is to Use an Attorney. ... The Cost of An Attorney.

What is a poor man's patent?

A poor man's patent is essentially writing out a description of your invention and then mailing that written description to yourself. This postmarked envelope supposedly acts to create the date of your invention as the date this written description was postmarked.

How much will it cost to patent an idea?

A patent attorney will usually charge between $8,000 and $10,000 for a patent application, but the cost can be higher. In most cases, you should budget between $15,000 and $20,000 to complete the patenting process for your invention.

Can you patent an idea without a prototype?

Many inventors wonder if they need a prototype prior to patenting an invention. The simple answer is “no'. A prototype is not required prior to filing a patent application with the U.S. Patent Office. While prototypes can be valuable in developing your invention, they can also be costly.

What are the 3 different types of patents?

There are three types of patents - Utility, Design, and Plant. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof.Jan 31, 2019

What can not be patented?

What cannot be patented?a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method,an aesthetic creation,a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a computer program,a presentation of information,More items...•Dec 14, 2020

How long is a patent good for?

20 yearsA U.S. utility patent, explained above, is generally granted for 20 years from the date the patent application is filed; however, periodic fees are required to maintain the enforceability of the patent.Feb 25, 2021

How hard is it to get a patent?

Without question, getting a patent is an involved process, even a hard process. Many people hire a patent agent to guide them through difficult spots and argue for them regarding rejection lists.

How do you sell an idea?

How to Sell a Great Idea: 5 StepsHave Prior Credibility. When deciding whether an idea makes sense, investors are initially more concerned with the person who has the idea, rather than the idea itself. ... Have the 'Next Big Thing' ... Adapt Your Story to the Listener. ... Make Buying Less Risky. ... Create Momentum.Jan 20, 2012

Keep A Careful Record of Your Invention

Record every step of the invention process in a notebook. Describe and diagram every aspect and every modification of the invention, including how...

Make Sure Your Invention Qualifies For Patent Protection

You cannot get a patent just on an idea. You must show how your invention works and your invention must be new. This means it must be different in...

Assess The Commercial Potential of Your Invention

Applying for a patent is a business decision. Even without a patent attorney or the use of professionally prepared patent drawings, it costs approx...

Do A Thorough Patent Search

To make sure your invention is new, you need to search all the earlier developments in your field. This involves searching U.S. (and sometimes fore...

Prepare and File An Application With The USPTO

When you file with the USPTO, you can either file a full-blown regular patent application (RPA) or a provisional patent application (PPA).Provision...

Am I The Right Person to Apply For A Patent?

In order to successfully obtain a patent, you must: 1. Be the inventor of the idea; or 2. Have been assigned the invention by another person; or 3....

Steps to Filing A Patent Application in 5 Easy Steps

1. Once you have your idea, it is important that you keep a record (such as a journal or notebook) of how you came up with the idea and your progre...

Following Your Application

Once you have filed your patent application, the USPTO begins its process of review which will include a thorough patent search. You will then rece...

Why Hire An Experienced Patent Lawyer

At this point, it is very important to note that you should strongly consider hiring a patent lawyer.A patent lawyer does not just file a patent fo...

How UpCounsel Can Help You

If you want to make sure you protect your million dollar inventions from others simply copying your hard work, post your patent needs on UpCounsel...

How to get a patent?

The first step towards getting a patent is to search the United States Patent and Trademark Office s patent database to find similar ideas that have already been patented. On their homepage, hover over the “Patents” button and click on “PatFT.”

How long does it take to get a response from the USPTO?

After you file your application, do not expect a quick response from the USPTO. It can take a year or longer before you hear back, especially if there are other inventions similar to yours.

What does "non-obvious" mean?

Non-obvious means that it can’t be “ an oral presentation at a scientific meeting, a demonstration at a trade show, a lecture or speech, a statement made on a radio talk show, a YouTube™ video, or a website or other online material .”

Is a patent the same in all countries?

While the principles just explained are all pretty much the same in all countries, each one has its own patent laws, which can vary depending on the product, what can qualify for a patent, and the way a patent is enforced.

How to get a patent on an invention?

Assess the Commercial Potential of Your Invention. It is possible to get a patent on an invention that has no commercial potential at all, but most inventors don't bother. Decide Whether or Not Your Invention Is New Enough to Qualify for a Patent.

How to write a patent application?

Broadly put, there are four main tasks involved in drafting a patent application: 1 Describing your invention's background, including why your invention is different from other relevant inventions and deserves a patent. 2 Illustrating your invention through drawings, flowcharts, or diagrams (many inventors assign this task to graphic artists, though you can do it yourself with a self-help resource). 3 Describing your invention's physical structure (if any) and how it works. 4 Describing exactly what aspects of your invention you wish to patent (the patent claims).

How much did Stewart pay for each patent?

The decision to handle his own patents was an economic one; paying a lawyer $5,000 for each patent Stewart wanted to pursue would have meant legal bills exceeding $100,000. Stewart says he didn't feel at a disadvantage without a lawyer.

What is Paul Vandervoort's patent?

He was awarded a patent for his Clean Sweep ® device, which cleans windshield wipers as you drive . A friend, who had spent $9,000 on patent lawyers' fees, gave Paul Vandervoort three pieces of advice about getting a patent: 1) Don't hire a lawyer. 2) Don't hire a lawyer. 3) Don't hire a lawyer.

What inventions did John Stewart make?

Among his patented inventions: hydraulic exercise equipment, a sidewalk lifter (to repair uneven sidewalks), an electric shaver, and a volleyball net adjuster.

Can I have a patent attorney review my claims?

You may want to have a patent attorney or agent review your claims before you submit them to the Patent Office . Or you can even ask the Patent Office to write a claim for you. They will -- for free -- based on the rest of your application. Deal with the Bureaucracy until Your Patent Is Issued.

Can you search for patents?

Patent searching is confusing at first, but can be mastered with practice. It is a research rather than a legal skill. Most patent attorneys hire professional searchers to carry out patent searches for their clients, and you may want to do this, too. But if you are a serious inventor, sooner or later you'll want to learn how to search ...

How to patent an idea?

Steps to Patent an Idea. 1. Keep a record of how you came up with the idea and your step by step progress. 2. Research your idea to make sure it is eligible for patenting under established patent law. 3. Make a prototype of your invention when filing a patent. 4.

Why is it important to patent an idea?

Learning how to patent an idea is an important process to understand so you can protect your ideas from others copying and profiting from your hard work. Unfortunately, the filing process can be scary if you’ve never done it before.

What is a patent?

A patent is a legal grant or license from the USPTO that gives an inventor exclusive ownership rights to his or her invention over making, using, offering for sale, and selling the patented item or idea in the U.S. What is not given is the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell, or import the idea.

What is a non-provisional patent?

A non-provisional application, known as a Regular Patent Application (RPA), is what is filed to obtain the actual patent that protects your invention or design. In order to receive a patent, the application must contain words and drawings that clearly:

What happens if you are denied a patent?

You will then receive a patentability opinion, called an “Office Action.” In most cases, the Office Action will indicate denial of the patent which will trigger one or more rounds of responses from you and the USPTO. If rejected, you or your patent lawyer can appeal the decision and respond why your idea is patentable or make amendments to your application. If you receive a Final Office Action, it indicates that the patent examiner disagrees with your response and you can file either a second response and/or a Request for Continued Examination.

What is utility patent?

A Utility Patent is the most common patent type and is used for approximately 90% of patents. According to the USPTO, a utility patent is issued for the invention of a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof…”.

How many pages are needed for a provisional patent?

All of this would be needed for just a provisional patent which is typically less than 10 pages and written in an informal style. At the very least, if you are going to write your own patent, it is always a good idea to at least have a patent lawyer look over what you have written.

What happens if you don't get a patent?

So you are limiting the number of potential buyers of your idea if you don’t get a patent or patent-pending status. However, it is possible. If you don’t have money for a patent, then your options are limited. You may have to pitch your ideas only to potential buyers that will sign the nondisclosure agreement.

What happens if you don't tell others about your idea?

If they sign the NDA, they cannot tell others about the idea. Otherwise, they will breach the contract. If they do tell others without your consent, you can sue them for breach of contract. The NDA stops the company from using your idea without paying you for it.

What happens if your invention sounds like a perpetual motion machine?

Moreover, if your invention sounds like a perpetual motion machine, then people (USPTO, patent attorney, investors) will ask you to build and show proof of concept. Otherwise, the examiner will reject your patent application.

What is a prototype in a pitch?

The prototype is a part of your pitch to sell your idea. Otherwise, the buyer has to build the prototype and prove that your idea works. If it doesn’t work then they wasted their time and money. You don’t need a fully functional prototype to show proof of concept. However, that would be a good idea.

Can you ask a potential buyer to sign a nondisclosure agreement?

Even if you have a patent-pending status, you can always ask the potential buyer to sign a nondisclosure agreement before you share your idea with them. By doing so, you can have both 1) contractual rights via the nondisclosure agreement and 2) a priority date with the patent application.

Can you sell a patent?

You can outright sell the patent itself. The benefit of selling the patent is that you have quick cash and you don’t have any responsibility later on if and when litigation occurs. The downside is that the sales price is all that you will make on the deal.

Is a prototype necessary for a pitch?

One again, a fully functional prototype would be a part of your pitch to sell your idea. I think that you get the point. Although a perfect prototype is not necessary, it is helpful in making your pitch to others.

Why is it important to file a patent application without a prototype?

Having the earliest possible filing date is important because the United States operates under a “first-to-file” system .

Why is it important to build a prototype before filing a patent?

Another benefit to building a prototype before filing a patent application is that it allows you time to incorporate lessons you may learn during market testing. Customers trying out the prototype of your product may have valuable insight into changes you can make to improve your design.

What is the second option when you discover new information while you are building your prototype?

A second option if you discover new information while you are building your prototype is to file a second patent application. This strategy is better in situations in which the changes are much greater to the original invention that you sought a patent for.

Why is it important to have a written description of your invention?

Because of the patent application’s standards for a patent’s written description, it is important that you have sufficient details about your idea and the resulting invention. You need to be able to understand how all of the components of your invention will come together and interact with each other.

Why is it important to have a prototype?

Prototypes are helpful to determine the functionality of your invention. By building a prototype, it forces you to develop applicable designs and procedures for your invention. Prototypes help make sure your invention will accomplish what it is set out to do.

Can you patent an idea without a prototype?

You can patent an idea without a prototype, so long as you can create an adequate description and diagrams. Filling a patent application without a prototype has some benefits, but there are also some cons.

Can Ideas Be Protected or Patented?

It’s important to know, “Can I patent an idea without a prototype?” Patents protect innovations and copyright protects expression, but both do not protect concepts. The concept is the primary step, but you won't get intellectual property protection, and exclusive rights will not be issued to you without a tangible or visible form of a concept.

Copyright

If you have a story idea instead of an invention, you should consider copyright for protection. Simply begin drafting or building your work. A copyright is automatic and instant when the original document is produced.

Kinds of Patents

The design patent or utility patent are both options in getting a patent for your invention. If your invention has a unique visual appearance,then you should get a design patent .Whenever you can, it is best to get both utility and design patent. Just recently, the U.S.

File a Patent Application Withouta Prototype

A prophetic patent is one that predicts the future instead of reporting the past. You don’t need to submit an example of the working device to the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office. This is called enablement by the U.S. Patent Office (35 USC 112).

How to protect your business idea from being stolen?

Here are four affordable strategies that will protect your business idea from being stolen: Do your research. Before you begin working with anyone new, be it an individual or organization, do some research online.

What is a non-compete agreement?

A non-compete agreement prevents an individual or entity from starting a business that would compete or threaten yours within an established radius. Work-for-hire agreement: If you hire someone to help fine-tune your product, ...

How much does it cost to file a PPA?

Filing a PPA costs a little over $100, while patents can easily cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, depending on the complexity of your idea. A provisional patent application protects your idea for up to one year and allows you to label your idea as "patent pending.".

Can you turn your vision into reality?

It's natural to fear that your idea might be stolen. But you can't turn your vision into reality without the help of others. Sooner or later, you're going to want to ask an industry expert to evaluate your product or service. You're going to need to collaborate with a manufacturer or distributor.

Do you have to list co-inventor in patent?

Anything they come up with, you own. You will still need to list the person who came up with improvements as a co-inventor in your patent, but they will have no rights to your invention. Turn to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for help. Fortunately, patents aren't the only tools available to protect our ideas.

What is the difference between a design patent and a utility patent?

Design patents protect the look of the product. Utility patents protect the functional aspect of the product. Design patents can’t be used to protect functional features and vice versa. Utility patents can’t be used to protect the look of a product.

Why do we need patent protection?

To bolster the protection, you would need patent protection to protect yourself against those that might independently derive the idea. And, patent protection protects you against those that hear your idea and try to file an improvement patent application based on what you just told them.

What happens if you don't get a non disclosure agreement?

If you don’t get the non-disclosure agreement signed, then the invention may no longer be considered your trade secret. Trade secret protection can be used to protect your invention before the filing of the patent application. The invention is treated as confidential and as a trade secret.

Why is trade secret protection better than patent protection?

Trade secret protection for certain recipes is better than patent protection because trade secret protection can last a lifetime. Patents only last for 20 years from the filing date of the patent application. If your invention is better protected with a trade secret, you should not get a patent. In this way, trade secrets can help you to avoid ...

What happens if you don't sign a contract?

Or, if they don’t want to sign the contract, then contracts are worthless as well. For example, some companies that you might want to submit your idea to will not sign a non-disclosure agreement. They will tell you that the information will not be held in confidence. They ask you to file a patent application.

How long can you delay patent protection?

You can delay paying for patent protection for up to one (1) year after you start marketing your invention. Legally speaking, you have one year from the first date of printed publication, first offer for sale or first public demonstration of the invention.

Do you need a patent before you pitch a product?

While you are developing your product, you need a contract with those you share your idea with so that they don’t steal your idea. With investors, it is preferable to have a patent application on file before you do your pitch. However, if you don’t have money to spend on patent costs, that would not be an option.

How long does a provisional patent last?

The provisional patent lasts for 12 months, after which time you must apply for a non-provisional patent or a conversion to a non-provisional patent. A provisional patent protects your idea or invention up to 12 months. Read More: How to Patent & Sell an Idea. Maintain an inventor's logbook.

What is a patent?

A patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides legal protection to inventors. Once an idea or invention is patented, no one can use that invention without the patent holder's permission.

What is Lisa Magloff's degree?

Since graduating with a degree in biology , Lisa Magloff has worked in many countries. Accordingly, she specializes in writing about science and travel and has written for publications as diverse as the "Snowmass Sun" and "Caterer Middle East.".

Do you have to include the date in a patent?

You should include the date with each entry you make . According to Stephen Paul Gnass, writing for the National Congress of Inventor Organizations, a logbook helps show that you developed the idea yourself. Therefore, if someone else files a patent for the same idea, you can show that you were the first person that invented the product.

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