Menlo Park Patents Blog:

A roadmap to patenting your new idea.

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The process to patent a new invention requires the inventor to provide a patent application comprising of forms, a specification, claims, and drawings that describe the invention.  A good description of the procedure can be represented by the following process.

Step 1: Document your invention

The first step is to document your invention in detail so that one skilled in the art can make or use your invention without significant experimentation.  This is important because ideas are not patentable and you need to demonstrate that your invention is more than just an idea.

Step 2: Prior Art Search

A prior art search should be conducted to determine if products or inventions similar to the invention you are planning on patenting exist. It is a critical step in the patent process as a search helps you identify similar patents and published products which are part of the prior art.  The United States like most of the other countries in the world is a first to file country which means that the first applicant to file for a new invention is entitled to the patent. The prior art search helps you to determine if your invention is novel and non-obvious and therefore patentable.

The inventor should note that the patent office has very sophisticated searching technology and a patent search may no uncover all the related prior art which can be found by the patent office.  Plus, prior art that was filed within 18 months of the search is not available to be searched because those applications are not published.

Step 3: Patentability Evaluation

A patentability evaluation refers to a review of the prior art discovered in the prior art search and uses the prior art search to determine if your invention is patentable within the prior art uncovered by the search. A patentability evaluation is recommended before filing any patent application.  Knowing what is in the prior art is important to help you determine the patentability of your invention.  If the information is used wisely, the prior art search can help you refine the invention to make it patentable and improve customer acceptance. The patentability evaluation  allows you to identify modifications to your invention which may make it more attractive to customers and may add patentable features to your invention.

Step 4: Application Writing

Patent application writing is the writing, editing, and preparing all the parts of a patent application and includes the documents, specification, claims, and drawings. This process involves substantial work from both the patent practitioner and the inventor to ensure that the invention is correctly disclosed and the claims accurately capture the invention.

It is important for the inventor and the patent practitioner to utilize the information from the patent search and patentability evaluation when writing the patent application.  Writing a good specification and claims is paramount to securing protection for your invention and the information from the patent search and patentability evaluation can provide a roadmap for developing your application.

Step 5: Application Filing

Filing the Patent application is the act of submitting of all the specification, claims, abstract, drawings, documents, forms, and inventor disclosures required for the application to be accepted and reviewed by the patent office. Nuventus includes the work required to prepare all the forms and file the application once you have approved the patent application.  Once the patent application is filed then the patent has patent pending status and you can mark your product as patent pending. Nuventus sends you an electronic filing receipt after your application is filed so you know when you can appropriately mark your product.

Step 6: Patent Prosecution

Patent application prosecution is the work required to respond to the patent office.  The patent office issues an office action and the applicant (you) must respond to the office action and address the USPTO objections and rejections of the patent application claims.

First virtually all patents receive objections or rejections of the claims during what is referred to as the First Office Action. This phase involves responding to the examiner’s objections and rejections,  representing a patent application during the examination,  appealing an examination decision or conducting opposition, reissue, or reexamination proceedings. Prosecution happens after a patent is pending.

Contact Menlo Park Patents for patent prosecution help to respond to an office action from the patent office.