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6 Tips to Aid the Patent Application Process

After you’ve had a patent search done to ensure that there is no prior art on your idea, the next step is to fill out a patent application form. While many people choose to enlist the aid of a patent lawyer or agent, others decide to file their application independently.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to know that the patent application process is long and expensive, so here are some helpful tips to make the first part–filling out the actual application–easier.

  1. Talk to other patent holders and inventors about the process. Simply having anecdotal advice from others who have been through the experience before will help you get practical advice and stay motivated. The internet is a great place to meet people with applicable experience, whether they’re relatively new to the field with a little experience in patent creation, or professional patent coaches who give advice through formal blogs and articles.
  2. Take advantage of free legal advice. When it comes time to find an IP lawyer to help you with the process, take advantage of free legal advice, which many have in the form of a time limited consultation call. This can be beneficial in hammering down the cost of their services and ensuring that you will click with them professionally before committing your hard earned money to their firm. You want to ensure that you feel comfortable and on the same page as your IP lawyer as you work together in this process. The USPTO also lists options for free legal assistance on their website.
  3. Communicate thoughtfully. Another tip when communicating with your IP lawyer, as suggested by Stephen Key, an experienced patent holder and professional consultant, is to be smart with your money in regards to communciation. When communicating with your lawyer, Key suggests using email for smaller details, as phone calls interrupt the lawyer’s time and may end up costing you more. When you do have phone communications, Key suggests being prepared before the call in order to maximize efficiency for both parties. Putting together an agenda and writing down any questions you may have to send to the lawyer before the call can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  4. Be realistic with your budget. When considering a budget in the patent process, it is important to understand that budgets have a place in the IP world. It is good to work within the constraints of a budget, but some entrepreneurs set too limited a budget, thereby raising questions about the entrepreneur’s intentions in the first place, since patents are inherently expensive and it’s often more important to target how you can get a substantive return on your investment, rather than penny pinching over the process. We suggest giving yourself a good financial cushion in order to reasonably get a patent within your financial limits, but not too tiny that you’re making it difficult for yourself and others, potentially short changing your approval chances or reducing the value of the patent you ultimately receive.
  5. Consider whether you should write the application yourself. Writing the patent application yourself may pay off, and it may not. This young woman took a stab at it solo and it paid off. However, it’s important to understand that focused research and an intention are vital, and you may end up learning in the end that it’s better to utilize the help of a patent agent anyway.  However, there are many resources online that give great advice on how to write the patent application yourself. In the end, the young woman only ended up paying the IP attorney for an hour of his time AND her patent was approved!
  6. Hire a patent artist. If you have artistic abilities or know how to use design software (or know someone who does) you may be able to do this portion of the application without spending a lot of money. If you don’t have artistic abilities and don’t know anyone who does, you will definitely need to hire a patent artist. The illustration part of a patent application is crucial, as it helps take the idea from your head and put it onto paper. Descriptions can help to a degree, but a drawing is what really can help the USPTO decide if your idea has prior art already in existence.

If you’ve just thought about starting the patent application process, but you first need to check to see if your idea has prior art, Global Patent Solutions’ experienced team can assist you. Contact us today for more information.