Applying for a Patent

To protect your latest invention, it’s a good idea to apply for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent application process is more in depth than applying for copyrights or trademarks. It is commonly referred to as “prosecuting” a patent. As a word of caution, a Patent Application must be filed within one year of the first public disclosure. Public disclosure has been broadly interpreted and if there are any doubts, contact a patent attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don’t loose your patent rights.

The Application
The process begins by drafting an application. This is a meticulous process, and the language and description of the patent are crucial. The application must contain enough information to be able to make the invention.

Any hint of ambiguity or vagueness will lead to a rejection by the examiner. The applicant can amend the application once, however, and after a second rejection can seek review with the Board of Appeals. A record is kept of the examination of the application, all objections or responses.

Show Uniqueness
In addition, the patent applicant must show how and why the invention is unique and that it meets the utility requirement. The applicant will usually describe:

The usefulness of the invention
The various applications of it
How it differs from other similar inventions
Therefore, this part of the patent application must be carefully drawn, and there is a prescribed format that must be followed.

The patent applicant has a duty to disclose all information, and in good faith represent to the U.S. Patent Office that he or she is the actual inventor. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the patent. And, if a subsequent lawsuit successfully challenges the patent, the applicant may be required to pay the prevailing party’s attorney’s fees.