FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When Should Inventors file a patent application?
Inventors often ask “when should I file a patent application for my invention?” or “can I wait to file a patent application for my invention?” The short answer is – as soon as possible. Waiting to file a patent application risks losing all rights to the invention.
In 2013, the U.S. Patent Law changed from a “First-to-Invent” to a “First-to-File” system. Whoever files their patent application first will have rights to the invention. It does not matter who invented first. This means that someone else could exclude you from patenting your invention if they file a patent application even one day before you do. Therefore, a patent application should be filed as soon as possible. And a “Poor Man’s” patent application (where you mail a copy of your invention to yourself) has no legal effect. You must file an actual patent application at the U.S. Patent Office.
What is a Patent Search?
A patent search (also called an “invention search,” “patent pending search,” or “prior art search”) can help determine if the same or similar invention already exists and whether it may prevent the U.S. Patent Office from issuing a patent for an invention. Inventors are not required to search patents before filing a patent application. But Trenner Law will often recommend a prior art search. In some cases, the prior art search turns up references that are the same as, or so similar to the invention that it would be difficult or impossible to obtain a patent for an invention. If this is the case, and you decide not file a patent application, you just saved thousands of dollars!
Prior Art Searches are available starting at $500.
Why file a Provisional Patent Application?
There are many reasons an inventor may want to file a provisional patent application. For example, a provisional patent application can be filed relatively quickly and inexpensively. So filing a provisional application may be a good idea to get a filing date and/or when on a budget.
Call or contact us today to find out if a provisional patent application is a smart idea to start protecting your invention.
Can I just file a regular patent application?
Yes, inventors can file a regular utility and/or design patent application without having to first do a prior art search or file a provisional patent application. Once the patent application is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, inventors are entitled to mark an invention as “Patent Pending” or “Pat. Pend.” until the application issues as a patent or goes abandoned. This shows customers, competitors, and potential investors that you are serious about protecting your invention.
Learn how much Trenner Law charges to prepare and file a patent application for an invention. We will tell you up-front what the total cost will be – before deciding if you want to work with us.