As an entrepreneur or business owner living in California, it's important to be familiar with the patenting process. After all, having a patent for your unique inventions and methods of handling business will be a big help in structuring your overall success.
FindLaw first points out that there are two different types of patent applications that you could go with. One is called a provisional application, and it costs less and is considered more accessible to the general public. It requires neither a declaration nor an oath, which is not true for non-provisional applications. However, these can't be used for design inventions. You must also still pay a filing fee, and remember to attach a cover sheet specifically to state that the application is provisional. This gives you 12 months to file for a non-provisional application. You can use the term "patent pending" in the meantime.
Non-provisional applications are for what most people think of when they consider filing for a patent. This provides the full protection, but also includes fees for search, examination, and filing. If your business is a small entity, that may tack on another fee. You also need to include drawings or diagrams if they're necessary to your invention, and an oath or declaration. Finally, a written document describing in detail what your invention is must be included.
Filing for a patent may seem daunting at first, but it could be well worth it for you in the end. If you find yourself struggling with some of the legal jargon in the meantime, you may want to consider contacting an attorney with experience in business law. They can help you set up everything you need to submit your patent application.