Get Your Idea or Product Patent Protected

Getting a new invention onto the market can take years, especially if it requires extensive development. The process begins with defining and documenting the invention. Next, it’s important to realistically research both the competition as well as suitable markets for the product. A patent attorney is a great source to guide an inventor through this process. There are some definite do’s and don’ts that should be adhered to in this process to best protect your interests. A patent can mean the difference between an idea benefiting its inventor and one that benefits a rival with savvier marketing skills and/or better industry connections.

A patent is the right conferred upon an individual or organization to solely make, use or sell an invention. Any natural person such as an employee of a corporation or individual inventor needs to protect their intellectual property from being infringed upon by competitors. From the date of filing, a patent lasts for approximately twenty years and falls within the jurisdiction of the federal government as explained in article.

As a general outline, there are three basic steps to obtaining exclusive rights to an idea or invention:

  • Planning
  • Research
  • Filing

Planning involves defining an invention and documenting its specifications as well as every step in its production. It also requires learning about the appropriate market for the product, the competition and developing a strategy for getting it to the industries or consumers who will use it.

Patent research may uncover that your “invention” is already in process and is already protected. Hiring an attorney who specializes in this type of research will ensure a thorough search to determine if a client’s invention is in fact unique. Expect the search to last as long as three months. While the search and application filing can theoretically be undertaken alone, an attorney provides valuable advice and expertise that is otherwise unavailable. Should a patent infringement case ever arise, it is best to have a bona fide litigator already retained. It is important that the inventor protect his self interest during the planning and research stages of the process.

Once the product has been publicly “disclosed,” the clock starts running. While the invention is not protected, anyone can further disclose this product, or produce it themselves and claim ownership.

The final step is the actual filing. It must be done within one year of the invention’s first disclosure and/or commercial application and can take up to six months. Provided non-disclosure agreements have been signed by anyone with knowledge of the invention, the onset of the one-year period can be delayed. A different patent attorney specializing in filing should be employed to this end to avoid any conflict of interest as described in post. It can take up to three years to receive the patent once filed.

International Patent Registration

Patent-pending inventions in the Patent Institute in US, is protected only within the borders of US. If it is desired to protect the invention outside the borders of US, the country or region where protection is claimed in the patent application should be done. Foreign patent applications are of great importance especially for companies exporting to foreign markets.

The important issue here is that applications must be made abroad within 12 months from the first application (Priority Period). It will not be possible to obtain a patent abroad after 12 months from the first application date. In applications without priority, applications will result in negative results, since the first application will negatively affect the novelty of subsequent applications as described in article.

Generally, foreign patent applications can be made in 3 ways;

– national patent application,

– regional patent applications (the most common is the European Patent Application)

– international patent application (PCT)

National Patent Application

The National patent application is the patent applications made to the authorized institutions in the countries where the invention is desired to be protected. Fees in national patent applications differ from country to country due to the differences in the legislation of the country applied for. In general, national patent applications may be preferred if the number of countries where the invention is desired to be protected is less than 3.

Regional Patent Applications

Regional patent applications are patent applications made for all countries in a particular region. Apart from the European Patent application, two groups of African countries, the OAPI patent application and the ARIPO patent application, are the patent application system of the African countries and the Eurasian patent applications are the other regional application systems.

European Patent Application (EP)

European patent application, the European Patent Convention covers 36 countries. The Authorized Office is the European Patent Office. Applications and transactions made in the European Patent Office to cover the member countries are maintained in a single language. If a patent is obtained after research and investigation at the European Patent Office, this patent may be valid in all member countries. However, after the patent is obtained, validation is required in every country.

International Patent Application (PCT)

International Patent application is a patent application process for 141 member countries. The International Patent application system is not a system that results in a patent, it only brings the process up to a certain period (30th month from the date of first application or priority if any) by jointly executing the process for all member countries. The International Patent application (PCT Patent Application) is filed in a single language, a patent research report is issued that will be valid for all member states, and a patent preliminary examination report, which will be valid for all member states, if desired. With these reports, the applicant continues the application process by entering the countries where the application wishes to continue. You can find much more information on patents and patenting process on