Law Charter

Acquiring a Patent

This article will tell you about the process of a patent acquiring and about its importance in a scientific world.

What Are the Stages Involved in Acquiring a Patent?

A patent is a collection of legal powers or rights given to an inventor by the United States Patent and trademark office for a given period of time. An invention is a specific technique that is meant to provide a solution to a certain problem. The main aim of the patents is to protect the inventor’s invention from being duplicated by other people thus giving him/her the sole role of ownership. To acquire an invention patent for its design or utility, the inventor has to make a filled application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The filled application provides a description on how to use the invention and how it is useful. Therefore, after coming up with an invention one can decide to patent his/her idea so as to protect his invention.  To acquire exclusive rights to own a certain patent one has to follow certain steps.

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The first step to acquire a patent is preparation of a patent application. Not every idea is patentable; therefore, the idea should be significant. Also, there are different types of patents an inventor can apply for depending on the type of the idea one has invented. For instance, one can fill an application for a design patent or a utility patent. A design patent protects the physical features of a manufactured product that can be easily imitated by other people for instance a unique shape of a guitar which competitors can imitate can be patented while a utility patent offers protection to the functional features of an invention. The inventor should effectively pass information to the patent attorney. Hence, inventor has to review the application to determine whether the information is well disclosed and incase the inventor is misses to include any crucial it is advisable to file another patent application including a given filling fees required.

Filing the patent application is the second stage for acquisition of a patent. Every type of patent has different requirements in filing a patent application. For instance, for a utility patent, the inventor must include some features with a claim, the filling fee stated, and some drawings if required. The amount of filling varies depending on the size of application, the type of filling and the number of claims made. Generally, small business require less filing fees as compared to large entities. In this stage an inventor receives a filling receipt from the United States patent and trademark office which will contain the application number and the date of filling the patent applications.

The third stage entails prosecuting of a patent application. At this level the invention is examined by an assignee from the United States patent and trademark office who his given the responsibility to review the application of the inventor. The aim of this activity is to determine how significant is, therefore, the assignee should make objections and rejections regarding the application. In case of rejections, the inventor together with his patent attorney can demonstrate to the assignee to show how well the application is valid in consideration to the patent requirements. The invention maybe rejected despite the efforts from the inventor and patent attorney demonstration, therefore, they may be forced to appeal. This makes the prosecution process very long and very expensive.

Allowance is the fourth stage which simply involves confirming the invention to be patentable. This is after the relevant bodies have confirmed that the necessary stages are fully met by the inventor in his/her patent application. To confirm that the invention is in allowance stage the United States and trademark office sends a ‘Notice of Allowability.’ After all the requirements are met, the patent Office requires the inventor to pay an issue fee whereby, in the United States the issue fee for utility patent is USD 1510 while for the design patent it is USD 860 is required which reduces with the size of business entities.

Issuance is the fifth stage. It entails confirming all the patent filling requirements by an expert assigned by the United States and Trademark Office. Then inventor is guaranteed to receive a patent number and be assigned a patent from the Patent Office after confirming that the inventor has made an issue fee payment. Currently, in the United States, the new patent issued to an inventor is published online and also in the official Gazette from the patent office which is publicly published on every Tuesday in a week.

Maintenance is the last stage involved in acquisition of a patent in the United States. After all requirements are met, the inventor is issued a patent containing exclusive rights granted to him by the United States Patent Office to own a given invention and protect it from imitations that can be done by competitors. Therefore, after acquiring the patent, the inventor is left with a responsibility to maintain it to ensure that his/her invention is protected and he can claim its ownership. Maintenance fees are paid to patent office so that the United States Patent and Trademark office can enforce the maintenance of the patent. A design patent does not require any maintenance fees unlike the utility patents. The small entities enjoy lower rate of maintenance fees as it is reduced to half of the total fees stated in the maintenance fees schedule. According to the maintenance fees schedule in the United States, utility patents requires payment of USD  980 after every 3.5 years, USD 2480 for every 7.5 years and USD 4110 at 11.5 years.

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