You have invented a grombo and now you need to know the steps to applying for a patent. You also need to know that only two to three percent of patented products ever make it to market. But you are very excited about your grombo and are sure it is just what America is eager to buy. You don’t have a lot of money and you have heard it costs about $5000 to hire a patent attorney or a patent agent to help you apply for a patent. You would like to do as many of the steps of applying for a patent on your own as is wise.
Here is a guideline to help you with what you can do yourself and what steps you should hire experts to handle.
1. You need to search to see that someone else hasn’t already invented the grombo or something very close to it. You can search the online database at the U.S. Patent Office at http://www.uspto.gov. You can also search at a Patent and Trademark Office Depository Library for more detailed information.
You need to make sure your grombo isn’t in the public domain or was never registered with the Patent Office and a search on the Internet for your invention is a good idea.
2. Write a detailed description of your grombo and do careful drawings.
3. Writing the claims. This is the most critical and difficult part of the patent application and it is best to get outside help for this step.
4. Submit the application. You must carefully fill out the forms. Use a book like “Patent it Yourself” and follow the directions. The application fee is from $500 to $1000 if you have fewer than 500 employees.
5. Waiting. It takes from two to four years for an application to be processed and it can take more than two years for you to receive your first correspondence from the Patent Office. You can use this time to research your market or to make improvements on the grombo.
6. Responding. Once you hear from the Patent Office, you have 30 to 90 days to respond. This again is a difficult and meticulous process and it is another time when it is best to hire an expert.
7. You successfully made it through all these steps and all you need to do is now is pay an issuing fee of $385 and the patent is all yours. You can now churn out grombos for the masses and get rich.