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How do I get a Patent?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Anyone wanting to get a patent must first engage in thorough research to determine whether her idea is truly original and unclaimed. If so, the process to get a patent will generally vary depending on the country from which a person requests it. In many cases, patents are issued by a government authority after an inventor follows an application process outlined by that authority. In the United States (US), an inventor needs to lodge an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

There are several types of patents available in the US. Anyone who wants to get a patent must begin the process by filing the appropriate application with the USPTO. The office's website provides descriptions of each type to help individuals choose which one applies to their inventions. Once a person has chosen the correct application, she will need to strictly adhere to the instructions for that type of application. This includes making sure that required documents are in the proper order and that all requested items are submitted.

Most people who attempt to get a patent will be required to draft documents according to strict technical details. For example, the USPTO will only accept the documents on two sizes of non-shiny white paper — that which is 8.5 x 11 inches (21.6 x 27.9 cm) and that which is DIN A4. Only one side of each page should be used and the print must be mechanically produced in black ink.

To get a patent, an individual must pay fees. For the most common type of patents, these fees are not set. A person can calculate them using a document called the Fee Transmittal Form. Applicants who qualify as a “small entity” are entitled to pay a reduced rate. In any case, the payment can be made using a check or credit card and should be included with the patent application. Anyone who wants confirmation that her application is received should send a stamped postcard that has her return address prewritten.

The USPTO also accepts electronic applications. The system which accommodates this can be accessed through the office's website. Although instructions for patent applications are provided by the USPTO, the office warns that drafting the document is complex. Since obtaining protection for these sorts of property can be so important and failure to properly apply can prevent issuance of a patent, it is recommended that anyone aiming to get one should utilize professional assistance, preferably that of a patent attorney.

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