Most first time inventors aren’t familiar with all of the steps that go into patenting an invention. In this article, we’ll review all of the steps in the invention timeline to see what it takes and how long it takes to turn an idea into a patent.
The first step is coming up with an idea! Most inventors does this by identifying a problem in the current market, figuring out what would fix this, and figuring out how to construct a product that would incorporate these features. Once a final concept is made known to anyone but the inventor, they have one year to contact a company and get a Patent Application filed.
Research And Development
The next step is to contact a professional company for a patent search. A professional will perform a detailed patent search on the millions of existing patents to ensure that the invention has not been done before. Sometimes, the invention may be modified or improved during this period. Once this is accomplished, the company will generally help recommend a patent type. This process generally takes only a couple of months or weeks.
Preparing An Application
Once the research and development is complete, a licensed Patent Agent or Attorney will help to prepare a patent application. This involves drafting detailed engineering specifications, preparing artworks, and drafting the legal claims for the Patent Application. During this time, the inventor is deeply involved in making sure that the professional’s work matches the inventor’s vision. The application is usually filed within one year of the start of research, if not sooner.
Once the application is filed, it’s up to the U.S. Patent Office to review the application before issuing a patent. During this time, the invention can be marketed to companies as a “patent pending”. The Patent Office can come back with questions, comments, and corrections to the patent application, which are handled by the hired professional. Getting a patent issued can take several years depending on the patent type, but as mentioned, most inventors begin pitching their idea while they wait.
Once a patent is issued, the inventor has sole intellectual property rights to their patented invention for up to twenty years depending on the patent type. The only step left now in the invention time frame is to enjoy having successfully patented an idea.