What are the Steps for Getting a Patent?

What are the Steps for Getting a Patent? If you want to patent an idea - what is the process to get a patent?

Do It Yourself?

If you want to patent an idea - filing a patent is one of those things you can do yourself. I personally do not recommend it unless you have a lot of time on your hands and are willing to undergo many frustrations. After all, it means dealing with government bureaucracy. This is another place where the use of a professional is recommended.

What we will do here though is talk through all aspects of how to get a patent - not just the steps for getting a patent but even the patent-it-yourself option.

The Patent Process

The drafting and filing of a patent, followed by ongoing communications with the patent examiner, is called patent prosecution or the process to get a patent. Patent prosecution is performed by people registered to practice before the patent office in question. The steps for getting a patent are described in more detail in the article linked below on the process to get a patent. The US patent office refers to these people as patent practitioners. You will often see them described as either patent attorneys or patent agents.

Agents and Attorneys

A simple difference between an attorney and an agent is that both of them have passed the Bar Exam of the US Patent Office, but the attorney has also passed the Bar Exam in his/her state and so can practice other forms of law and also represent people in court.

Read the useful articles below for more in depth discussion of the steps for getting a patent. 


Process to Get a patent
The process of shepherding an application through the patent office is called patent prosecution or the patent process. To better understand the process to get a patent read about it here.

Patent New Matter
Can you add anything to a patent specification or your patent claims after filing a patent?

A Patent Flow Chart
Sometimes, when describing a process it is desirable to show it a a process flow chart. Lets' do that here.

Patent Pending
A frequent question I get from some new clients is "How do I get a patent pending? This is another of those frequently misunderstood concepts in patent law.

Provisional Application Part I
In developing your patent filing strategy it is important you understand all about the possibilities of using a provisional patent application. Here is a beginning discussion of what a provisional patent application is.

Provisional Application Part II
And here we talk about why it can sometimes be used very effectively.

24 Month Provisional Application
A USPTO pilot program that makes it possible to extend a provisional to 24 months instead of 12.

Foreign Patents Part I
When thinking about your patent filing strategy one important consideration is whether or not to file foreign patents. Foreign filing is a complex situation and for small companies an expensive one. If you are interested in better understanding you options please click here for some first thoughts on how to get a patent in a foreign country.

Foreign Patents Part II
There is even more you need to understand about foreign patents (if you are interested). Click here for further discussion.

The PCT Part I
The PCT it can be a bit confusing. Let's talk about the key points behind it.

WIPO Patents?
Is there a world patent? This is an area of confusion for first time applicants. Here is the explanation.

Patent Treaties and Foreign Patents
What are these treaties that define how inventors get foreign patents?

Divisional Patents
In hearing about various types of patents you may have heard folks refer to a Divisional application or patent - or you may have heard about an ominous ruling called a Restriction Requirement. It's not really that ominous or complicated.

Design Patents
When considering the type of patents one that you may not be familiar with is a design patent. It may not be what you thought. You can read about it here.

Plant Patents
One of the basic types of patents is called a plant patent. Many people outside of the patent world are not even aware of this one. What is it?

Foreign Applicants for U.S. Patent
What are the rules in US patent law for an inventor from a foreign country filing and getting a patent in the United States Patent Office?

Patent Status
If you have a pending application, can you check the status of it - or the status of a competitive patent?

The Patent Declaration
Under US patent law one of the required steps in the steps for getting a patent is the submission of an oath or declaration.

Patent Secrecy
Can the US Patent Office Keep Your Application Secret?

Patent Interference
A proceeding know as a patent interference can be instituted in the US Patent Office. It is quite rare but you may need to know what it is.

Statutory Invention Registration
An SIR is not a patent, but can be used to keep others from getting a patent.


Steps for Getting a Patent
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Mike Ervin
Mike Ervin - Cost Effective Small Business Patent Protection.

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