Hi Yehuda, I have an innovative business idea, and I am being told that I should file for a patent. Do I need to hire a lawyer or can I file independently? I am also worried about cost, I am afraid of the business failing to gain traction and I will be stuck with a huge bill. Please advise. Yaakov.
There are a few basic steps you need to think about before filing a patent application. Nothing about the process requires a lawyer -- there's no court, no judge, no "legal" research, but if you have a lawyer to discuss the process with, it is advisable to do so.
1.Record every step of the invention process. Describe every aspect and every modification of the invention, including how you came up with the idea for it. Sign and date each entry and have two reliable witnesses sign as well.
2.You cannot get a patent just on an idea. You must show how your invention works and your invention must be new. This means it must be different in some important way from all previous inventions. It also cannot be for sale or be known about before you apply for a patent
3. It is important to remember that filing for a patent is a business decision. Even without a patent attorney or the use of professionally prepared patent drawings, it costs approximately $1,500 in fees to file and obtain a patent from the USPTO. Before you spend the time and money to file a patent application, you need to research the market you hope to enter and decide whether it's worth the outlay of funds. Create a comprehensive market plan.
4. Research To make sure your invention is new, you need to search all the earlier developments in your field. This involves searching U.S. (and sometimes foreign) patents, as well as other publications like scientific and technical journals, to find related inventions.
Although patent searching is time consuming, it can be mastered with practice. Even if you decide to hire a professional later on in the process, you know the most about your invention, so you are the best person to start the search.
During your search, you will certainly find other inventions that are similar to yours. In your application, you should show how your invention improves upon or is different from these earlier developments.