If you’re a creative type, think you invented something cool, or run an innovative small business, you’re going to want to look into getting an intellectual property patent. Below are the basics of that process as well as other ways to protect intellectual property:
Wait, what exactly qualifies as intellectual property?
Intellectual property is simply an invention or work that you did that required some level of creativity. Popular things that generally qualify for an intellectual property patent include: songs, manuscripts, books, movie scripts, designs, and totally original products. Basically, if you can see a copyright or a trademark on it, it probably qualifies for an intellectual property patent of some sort.
Why is going through the patent process important? Isn’t patent filing just more annoying paperwork?
The short answer is no! Heck no! First of all, intellectual property is a cornerstone contributor to the strength of our economy, accounting for over half of the U.S.’s export power. But beyond being patriotic, obtaining a patent protects you from the number one threat to the personal livelihood of a creator: intellectual property theft.
Is intellectual property threat really a big problem?
Yes! In fact, nearly a quarter of all internet users right now (that’s millions of internet users), are online to steal some kind of intellectual property by illegally downloading. What’s more, intellectual property theft isn’t just committed by strangers. Former employees of your business are statistically responsible for 20% of this type of thievery, and 17% of trusted business partners commit this crime nationwide!
Wow okay okay, what are the patent process steps?
We’re glad we convinced you! The patent process is broken down into 6 basic steps which are as follows:
Step 1: Research the USPTO database to make sure your patent is original.
Step 2: Determine whether you will be filing a utility, design, or plant patent.
Step 3: Understand the different rules for filing internationally versus domestically.
Step 4: Determine whether you qualify for expedited patent processing.
Step 5: Choose whether to file yourself or have a lawyer/representative file for you.
Step 6: Understand electronic filing and apply for your patent online.
What happens after I submit my application?
After you submit, the USPTO will review your application and make a decision. If they deny your application, you have opportunities to appeal and get reconsideration. However, if they notify you that your patent claim is legitimate, you will be charged a granting fee. After you pay this fee, your patent will be legal! Then it’s just a matter of paying three maintenance fees 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after the patent is issued.
How much does all this cost?
This depends entirely on the complexity of your patent and the type of filing you choose, but a good rule of thumb is $125 per design page.
If anyone has direct experience with patent filing, please comment and share tips below! And as always, more specific information can be found on the US Patent and Trademark Office governmental website.