Steps for Patent Filing 101

A patent that covers your own invention is an asset that you should gain protection for at the start of your business. Patents can be applied for with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office but a process must first be followed. Find out what this process is and start applying for a patent.

When you’re running a business that uses a proprietary technology of your own creation, it is best that you get yourself a patent to protect it from being copied by your competitors.

If you’re running a pharmaceutical business, any medicine that you have formulated for the commercial market should also be protected by a patent. That’s the way things go.

Getting yourself a patent is also an investment. When you hold a patent to an invention, you can negotiate and enter into licensing contracts with other firms. These contracts let other companies use your invention for their own businesses. All they have to do is pay you a fee for a license. This fee is called a “royalty,” and should be paid on a set basis until the license is expired. Licenses are valid for years on end depending on the agreement.

Applying for and being granted a patent requires a process that you have to follow. Take note, that the entire process from application, to reviewing and ultimately until issuance, can take a long time. It can take least 2 years and even up to 3 years depending on the complexity of your invention. However, the benefits greatly outweigh the cost.

The Steps to Getting a Patent

Here are the steps that you have to undertake when filing a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:

  • Find out if any similar patent exists already
    Check the USPTO’s databases to find out if there is already a patent that you risk infringing on when filing your patent. Alternatively, you can use paid patent search services to do that for you. This would cost anywhere within $250 to $800.
  • Get a Patent Attorney
    A patent or intellectual property attorney will guide you through and handle all the processes in the USPTO on your behalf, as well as help you in the language and tone necessary when writing your patent documents. There are IP attorneys that you can hire, but it is preferable to tap the services of a lawyer that is registered with the USPTO.

    A patent agent is cheaper to hire than a patent attorney and has the same expertise in applying for a patent with the USPTO, but you will still need to hire a patent attorney later on when defending a patent in court.
  • Get All Your Documents Ready
    This would include writing your patent literature and all the necessary documents after which you will formally submit your application to the USPTO.


    (All the above fields are required.)