« »

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What you need to know to file a patent

By John Frost

Patent filing tips
Patent applications include descriptions & illustrations
Once an inventor is really sure that they have a product or design which is genuinely patentable, then the next step is to file for a patent. Filing a patent is very confusing, and can be difficult even for those with previous experiences in patent applications to get the next one exactly right.

The first steps to filing a patent form involve three main steps: filling in a written document, creating drawings of the invention, and submitting the filing fee.
  • The written document. This is one of the most important parts of the patent application, and the one which is most often incorrectly filed. The document will including specifications, or details of the invention; claims about the invention, such as uses or purposes, and the Oath. The Oath is the statement confirming that the applicant is the one true inventor of the device being patented. This oath is must be taken in front of an officially sanctioned oath taker, and is legally binding. Swearing this oath on a false patent claim can result in prosecution, and is considered to be fraud.
  • Drawings of the patent device. These drawings are depictions of the invention. The patents must show all sides of the device, and may include internal details if these form part of the patent's 'novelty'.
  • Filing fee. Applicants for full patents (rather than provisional), must submit a fee for the filing of the application, including administration costs. Inventors who are also using patent attorneys may find that, with legal fees, the costs of filing a patent ran run into thousands of dollars.

Applying using the written document

With the Written Document part of the application, it is necessary to have complete specifications for the invention, including claims which outline the role of the invention, and which make clear its patentability. The specifications must use terms which are relevant to the product's industry or technology. The claims must make the differences between this invention, and other, related or similar, products. Applications should also include a 'best mode', that is the best use of the invention, detailing how it will be used.

In addition to these aspects, the written document must also contain the all-important oath, and must contain clear statements required by the Patent and Trademark Office. This Oath must be taken before a registered oath-taker.

Drawings of the patent

When you file for a patent, another important aspect of the application is the patent drawings. While this may not be possible in some forms of technology, particularly chemical formulas and medicines, most software, products and machine parts should be able to produce drawings. The drawings must show all forms of the design, including all sides of the exterior, and any interior changes. If the inventor cannot draw this accurately, or in proportion, then a patent attorney may be able to provide assistance, including the help of professional draughtsmen. Patent illustrators, specialists in this field, may also be able to help with this part of the application.

About the author: John Frost is a professional writer specializing in business, management and trade. He has more than 10 years of industry experience and to date, provides consultation services to various small and medium businesses across the globe.

Image credit smartphotostock.com