How does the patent application process work?

Glenn W. Peterson

When you are ready to patent your product or concept, there are several steps that you must take to ensure your invention is properly protected in California and throughout the country. Before you begin the application process, you must decide whether your creation is eligible for a patent. Not only must your invention be completely new, it must meet all of the specific requirements set by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are several types of patents, including utility patents, design patents and plant patent. Although each type may have small differences in the patent application process, most are generally similar.

In order to fill out your initial application, you must have all of the information regarding your new product or idea, and pay the necessary filing fees associated with your type of patent. Making sure that the application is filled out properly and entirely is crucial and can help to expedite the process. If you have any missing information, an office examiner will contact you. Once the application is complete, the examiner will determine whether your idea meets all of the prerequisites. If for any reason your application is rejected, you will be given the opportunity to amend your application or explain the reasoning for your creation. In some cases, you can schedule a meeting with the examiner to discuss the terms surrounding your idea.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive a Notice of Allowance, and will be prompted to pay the issue fee. You will want to make sure that you pay your maintenance fees on time so that your patent does not expire.

This information should be used for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.