After sheer hard work and diligent experimentation, you have successfully invented a car that can run on sea water. But after exclaiming eureka to rejoice in your discovery, you are suddenly gripped with apprehension that someone - your nosy neighbor perhaps - might copy your work and claim ownership to the fruit of your labors. You then realize that you need patent protection.
Famous inventors everywhere need to take prudent steps to guard their invention from potential copying and reproduction by imitators. The U.S Congress has the sole authority to handle issues concerning patent issuance, and it acknowledges the right of the inventor to benefit from his own invention by giving him exclusive rights to produce, utilize and sell his work. U.S. law mandates that if an inventor fails to apply for a patent, his discovery will become public property after one year. On the other hand, if he has patented his work and fails to apply for renewal before its expiration, anyone can take the freedom to reproduce, use and sell the item.
Applying for patent protection requires the filing of an application with the U.S. Patent Office. However, the process is quite tedious and complicated, hence there are inventors who resort to hiring lawyers to help in the legal aspects of patent application. There are many requirements in patenting an invention, and an applicant also has to prove to patent officials that his design is indeed original. Furthermore, the usability and practicability of the invented item must likewise be demonstrated. Aside from these items, there are other legal matters to deal with before the patent is finally granted. In most cases after a rigid patent evaluation, an applicant is given a provisional patent.
Here is the standard procedure to follow in getting patent protection for your invention:
Step 1: Go to the local branch of the U.S. Patent Office. If you can't personally visit the local office, you may obtain information and application forms from the agency's website.
Step 2: Make a proposal for your invention. Be sure to include all details you went through when you were in the process of making your design. A labeled illustration and written descriptions and explanations about your invention must be included. Your proposal should also contain a short statement declaring that the invention is original and that it does not contravene any existing or latest patents.
Step 3: After submitting the previously mentioned requirements to the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, pay the filing fees.
Step 4: If your application is met with objections by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and they ask you to make modifications, you must act on the request immediately. At this point you may want to hire a lawyer to help you defend and back up your invention before the patent officials.
Step 5: Upon approval of your application, you will have to wait for 18 months after the processing of your patent. If there are no objections to the patent application for your invention, the wait should then be over. However if there are revisions, you will need to wait for an extended period until such time that the processing of your application is completed.