As we recently received our first 2 patents, (yeah!!!!) I thought I would give a little bit of insight on the trials and tribulations of the patent process. When we started our business we decided that “value” to our company would come via the path of innovation and therefore the “patent” process.
Just to open your eyes don’t even think of starting this process without an attorney and a minimum $5,000 to $10,000. They will always offer the option of a “provisional application” for the first year which is a bit cheaper and it gives you a year to decide if the product will really bring you any value.
The provisional application establishes an early filing date, which does not mature into an issued patent unless the applicant files a regular patent application within one year. A provisional application includes a specification, a description, and drawing(s) of an invention (drawings are required where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented), but does not require formal patent claims, inventors’ oaths or declarations, or any information disclosure statement. What it does do is establish an early effective filing date claiming the priority date of an invention that was disclosed in the earlier provisional application.
Once it is filed as a “patent” it is considered “pending” for review, thus the phrase “patent pending.” This alerts others that it is in the review phase of the patent process. It is usually kicked back by the reviewer at least two times in which the attorneys have to answer what the issues are for or change some wording in the claims etc. This adds on more money and hopefully anywhere from 3-5 years you will either be granted the patent or not.
There are also different types of patents such as a design patent which is granted in a much quicker fashion usually 1-2 years however that only gives you that design of which you submitted no other modifications or claims to other ways to have your product work. You will notice that one of our patents issued is a design patent (the patent number starts with a “D”) .
You also have your options of filing only in the US or International. Of course International is a lot more money again. I did try to file a patent on my own and it ended up getting returned and I had to go to an attorney to get it fixed to re-submit anyway. So my advice is just pay an attorney as the patent laws are only understandable by attorneys!!!
My final word is: You get what you pay for!!! Final cost on these two patents…… a mere $50,000….but they sure are pretty framed!!