Patent Registration in .
The global economy is becoming extremely competitive day by day, with new inventions entering the market. Similarly, USA is considered to be one of the largest economies in the world, with a diverse range of businesses competing in a tough marketplace.
It is important to protect your invention because it is your intellectual property and you should own the sole right to make, use, and sell it.
To understand the Patent registration process in the USA, we need to look at the process in detail.
Patent registration services in The USA
The USA follows a first-to-file system for patents, which means that any individual or company that files for a patent first will receive priority and ultimately, patent registration. To register a patent in the US, the applicant can file an application online with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The USPTO encourages to apply online by by making an account with the USPTO.gov website. Once you make an account, you can create a Customer Number and then submit the Patent Electronic Verification Form to register your account and link your customer number to it. Once you do that, you can easily use the Patent Electronic Systems. After the form is processed, you will be informed by the Patent Electronic Business Center (PEBC) Helpdesk.
By making an account with the USPTO, you save time and money. All relevant information is stored on your account so that you do not have to resubmit everything if needed. You can enable two-step verification for your account to protect your personal information so that you have secure access to your patent data.
Types of Patents
Types of Patents in The USA
There are four different types of patents. This includes utility patent, provisional patent, design patent, and plant patent. Before going into the details, you must understand the requirements for getting a patent. These altogether sum upto being five requirements in total.
- The innovation/invention is patentable subject matter: Businesses and individuals need to understand that not everything can be patented. What can be patented includes new products like toys, appliances, tools, medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, new manufacturing processes or industrial methods, softwares, business methods, biological material (some type).
- The innovation is new (this is known as Novelty): A patent is taken out for something that is new, an innovation, thus you cannot patent something that is already in the public’s domain or in other words; it is publicly known. As soon as you file an application, it is tested for novelty. It is extremely important for this reason, to keep the product, invention or process to yourself and if your are disclosing this information to someone else, you should have a confidentiality agreement signed with them.
- The innovation is inventive: This basically means that invention, process or product should not be ‘obvious’ to any skilled person. What you plan on getting patented should be unique and not something deemed ordinary.
- The ‘utility’ or usefulness of the innovation: The innovation, process or product should be useful and functional. This does not relate to people buying it rather relates to being capable of what it claims to do. If it does not fulfull the information and claims in the patent, it fails this requirement.
- Must not have prior-use: If you have been using the process or have the product licensed before, it is not qualified for a patent. There should be no prior use of what you are trying to get patented.
Similarly, some patents cannot be registered, including artistic creations, mathematical algorithms or models, mental concepts or processes, plans or schemes, principles or theories.
There are 4 types of patents:
- Utility Patent: This is the most common type of patent. The Congress defines the kinds of inventions protected by this patent. The patent describes the public on the new machine or process. The patent document consists of all the technical information and the how-to for the new machine, process or system, educating the public.
- Design Patent: As the name depicts, this patent protects the design/shape of the invention or product. The document contains mostly pictures or drawings of the design on the product/item. It is difficult to search for design patents because they have minimal words rather contain mostly pictures.
- Provisional Patent: Acquiring a proper patent may take a lot of time, in some cases it can take upto 5 years. This is why the law in USA allows inventors to provisionally protect their inventions. This is a less formal way of proving that the invention was the property of the inventor i.e. it was in the possession of the inventor and he had known how to make the invention work. This gives the invention a ‘patent pending’ status. The inventor has to file for the utility patent within 1 year of getting the patent pending status. If they fail to do so, they will lose the filing date.
- Plant Patent: These types of patents protect plants that are new, and made through asexual means or cutting. This does not generally include genetically modified plants.
How to register a Patent in The USA?
It is always good to search for existing patents to understand the available patents’ intricacies. This also helps in understanding why a patent might have been refused and if your invention has already been publicly disclosed. If you are inexperienced when it comes to patent searches, it is recommended to take the services of a registered attorney or agent.
If you are a small business or an independent inventor, you can be eligible to receive a pro bono attorney representation through the Law School Clinic Certification Program or the Patent Pro Bono Program.
According to the USPTO, a non provisional patent application must contain all of the below mentioned elements, in the exact same order. Everything can be given in a PDF format online. The application and all of its content must be in English language and if that is not the case then a translation must be provided alongside the application. If the application is missing any of the content like translation, statement or fee etc. then the applicant will be given a notice and a time period to submit everything that is missing.
- Utility Patent Application Transmittal Form or Transmittal Letter
- The application fees
- Application Data Sheet
- Specifications (alongwith at least one claim)
- Drawings (when necessary e.g for design)
- Executed Oath or Declaration
- Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequence Listing (when necessary)
- Large Tables or Computer Listings (when necessary)
The application fee can be paid online through the office’s electronic filing system called EFS-Web. Filing through this system will save you not just time but cost as well.
Once the application is filed, it is given to an examining attorney who checks the application on to see if it contains everything mentioned above.
The examiner also checks if there are identical patents already registered or applied for, and if the patent complies with all the regulations.
If there is any problem with the application, the examiner sends an Office Notice to the applicant containing the reasons for refusal. The applicant is given time to respond to the objections or to complete the application. If you fail to respond to the office action in the given time, your application will be considered abandoned.
If you do respond yet your application is rejected twice, you can then appeal against the examiner’s decision with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Your appeal will then be checked and a final decision/final action will be given accordingly.
If you have taken the services of an attorney or have legal representation then the USPTO will only communicate with that attorney or agent. The office does not engage in double correspondence.
If the application gets accepted and there is no official action, or if the official action has been accordingly responded to, it gets published in the Official Gazette.
If any dispute is resolved and the examiner’s decision is in favour of the applicant, the patent gets granted a notice of allowance is given to the applicant. This is subject to the issue and application fees being paid.
The entire Patent process takes around 12-18 months but can take even longer, depending on the complexity of the patent.
Price of Patents
Patent registration cost in The USA
The cost may vary according to the legals fees and how complex the patent/invention is. The cost of getting a patent in the USA can cost anywhere from $1000 to $5000 or more, depending on how complex your invention is and the type of patent you want to get.
Age of Patents
How long does a patent last?
Patents in the USA last for 20 years, but after the 4th , 8th, and 12th year of registration, a maintenance fee has to be paid.
It is important to understand the extent of which a Patent protects the owner’s invention(s). It provides exclusivity to the Patent owner over invention and offers authenticity infront of the customers and the market.
At Patent International, we provide hassle-free Patent services catered to your needs, in compliance with the international requirements and standards. Patent registration in the USA doesn’t have to be complicated, and that’s why Patent International is here to assist with all of your intellectual property needs.
*What to do? How to do it? When to do it? Will it work?*
If these are the questions that come to your mind when thinking of registering a Patent, you have come to the right place. We, at Patent International, answer these questions and more! Offering multiple Patent services, we guarantee client satisfaction. For expert advice and consultation, contact us now!