A patent is a form of intellectual property consisting of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention. In the U.S., and many foreign jurisdictions, a patent enables a patent hol
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I obtain a patent on my invention?
A patent can be obtained by filing a patent application with, in the U.S., the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO). See the USPTO's page on the patent process for a for a general overview of the patent process in the U.S.
Patents are obtained internationally by filing patent applications with the appropriate government office in individual countries.
How Much Does a Obtaining a Patent Cost?
For individuals and small organizations (less than 100 employees), U.S. government fees to file an application and have it examined are $630. Another $880 is required to issue the patent if it is allowed.
Legal fees for drafting a patent application can vary widely depending on the complexity of the invention and to what extent the applicant participates in the drafting of the patent application. Legal fees typically fall in the range of $4,000 to 10,000.
How likely is it my patent application will be allowed?
It depends on the technology involved. Simple mechanical inventions that are highly unique are likely to be allowed. In the case of more complex technologies, such as software and Internet-based inventions, however, the allowance rate is lower, perhaps no better that 50-60% unless the subject invention is highly specialized or pioneering.
Before you file a patent application, you are well advised to search published patent applications for similar inventions. A good resource is the Google patent search service.
How long will it take?
It depends on the technology involved. Patents on simple mechanical inventions could be allowed in 12 months or so. In the case of more complex technologies, such as software and Internet-based in-ventions, it could take 3 to 5 years, sometimes more.
Are Patents Worth the Time and Expense?
Patents can be well worth the time and expense in the case of inventions relating to a businesses core products. A valid patent can permit your business to prevent anyone else from making, using, selling or importing your invention into the U.S. and can provide you legal remedies to recover damages.
Additionally, patent can be a valuable business asset that can be sold, licensed or used as collateral for loans. It is not unheard of for a patent relating to a popular product to be worth hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.
der to protect the structure and /or functionality of inventions that are new, useful and not obvious.