How to Patent

How to Patent. If you have a unique idea, a specially designed plant or even an improvement or creation of new technology, then you need to patent it. A patent gives you legal protection from anyone who tries to copy your new idea. This is vital if you wish to prevent the wrong people from making money from your revolutionary breakthrough.

Determine what kind of patent you will be applying for; this is important for the paperwork you need. Your choices are design, plant or utility. Plant is easy; it means you created a new plant or plant hybrid. Design is more ornamental, and everything else falls into the category of utility. If you still aren't sure, your best bet is just to assume it is a utility patent.

Decide if you can file the patent electronically. Electronic is by far the easiest method, and since the paperwork is the same, you might as well use that method if you can. Patents for some items can still not be done online, so check the list to see if yours is one of those. You will also need someone who is authorized to file it electronically, generally a lawyer.

Fill out the paperwork for your patent; this is a large amount of paperwork and can include drawings or even samples. You might also need to provide documentation for how you came up with the idea.

Submit the paperwork through your chosen method; this will require a government-mandated filing fee. The amount of the fee is dependent on the type of patent, but it can become quite costly.

Wait for the government to make a decision on your application. This can take a while, so be patient. Also, sometimes the patent is rejected; either because the application was incomplete or because it infringes on someone else's patent.

Update your patent as needed. Some patents have a limited life, so they must be continually updated if you don't want your patent to expire. If your patent expires, you lose all of the legal protection it afforded you.

Warnings

  • Make sure you check to see if someone already has a patent for your idea, design or plant.

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