In this article we’re going to discuss how to get a general patent as there are actually different kinds of patents that can be obtained.
If you’re an inventor and think you’ve come up with some gadget that is going to be in everybody’s home in the next few years then you might want to think about securing a patent for this amazing invention otherwise you might find that it is stolen right from under your nose.
It is very common to confuse patents with copyrights and trademarks. A patent basically grants the inventor trademark rights for his invention. The words of the actual patent grant are as follows: “the inventor is given the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the issuing country or importing the invention into that country.” In other words, the inventor has complete control over his invention.
There are 3 kinds of patents that an inventor can obtain. The first is a utility patent, which is given to anyone who invents of discovers a new process or machine. This includes any article manufactured that is an improvement over a similar article. The second is a design patent, which is given to anyone who invents a new design for a manufactured article. The third patent is called a plant patent, which is given to anyone who invents a new kind of plant.
To get a patent for any of the above categories the inventor must file a patent application. Usually, because of the sensitive nature of patent infringement, these inventors will hire a lawyer to aid them in the process of securing their patent. These are attorneys who specialize in patent law and know all the idiosyncrasies of the business. If you’re an inventor hiring a lawyer for this service expect to pay a very large fee because of the specialty of their service.
If you are looking to save some money you may want to try to get through the process of getting a patent on your own. The system itself requires that the patent examiners make themselves available to help any inventors who are not going through an attorney. If you’re going to go about this process without a lawyer make sure you make notes of your invention in minute detail. This is required so as to verify that the invention is indeed new and original and not an infringement on somebody else’s patent.
Make sure you read through the application questions very carefully so as to make sure that your invention qualifies as an original work otherwise you can be wasting a lot of time and money in the process. Even without using an attorney the filing fees can run as high as $2000. In some cases you may also have to build a prototype of your invention and give the patent examiner a demonstration of how it works.
In order to make sure your invention is indeed original you will have to research all current patents. You can do this either online or at the Trademark Depository Library.
Also remember that applying for a patent is a business decision. Even if the item is original you still want to make sure there is a market for it before you go through the whole process only to find out that nobody has any interest in what you’ve invented.