Frequently Asked Patent Law Questions

Frequently Asked Patent Law Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the Patent Filing Process

Why should I get a patent on my invention?
A patent allows you to protect your idea and to generate money with it. Without patent protection, another company or individual can freely copy your idea in most cases.

What do I get if I am granted a patent for my invention?
You are granted a right to prevent others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing your patented invention for a limited time (twenty years from the application’s filing in most cases). This is a powerful right because it is a limited monopoly that may give you significant market advantage.

Does an invention have to be a totally new concept?
Absolutely not. In fact, most inventions are improvements upon existing products and devices. As long as your invention is novel and non-obvious from that which is already known in the public, you may receive a patent upon it.

Do I have to use a patent professional?
No, you do not have to use a patent attorney or agent. However, the patenting process is truly difficult and complex. The patenting process is filled with a lot of procedures and rules that lead most individuals to seek professional assistance. Also, getting professional assistance will improve the likelihood of your invention being granted a patent. Patent attorneys have the technical and legal skills necessary to represent inventors.

How long will it take for me to get a patent issued for my invention?

This time period varies. If your invention is allowed, the time frame may be anywhere from less than a year to three or more. If the time takes too long due to the fault of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you can have time added to the length of your patent. There are paths available for accelerating examination for additional costs.

What are my chances for having my invention patented?
No professional can or should be able to give you a percentage. Whether your invention is going to be granted a patent is dependent upon what is already known in the prior art (for example, issued patents, books, journals, websites, etc.). Even if you opt to have a patent search performed, a patent search may miss some piece literature or obscure patent that a patent examiner may cite against your invention.