How To Patent An Invention: 3 Ways You Can Go

Your first paragraph ...Many new inventors want to know how to patent an invention. This is a common question asked by someone who has an idea but is unfamiliar with the invention process. There are three paths that can be taken. These include:

  1. Doing it yourself
  2. Hiring a patent agent
  3. Hiring a patent attorney

Doing it yourself

If you don't have a lot of money you may decide that you want to do it yourself. This is a viable option if you are willing to put in the work required to learn about patents. You also must dedicate yourself to doing a detailed patent search and to writing the patent itself.

The first time I wanted to patent something that was not owned by my employer I wrote the patent myself. I did it myself but I had already been familiar with patents through my experiences at my day job. If you have no experience with patents it is wise to read up on how to patent an invention by getting the book Patent It Yourself by David Pressman. This is the only book that I own on the patent process and it is a must have if you are going it alone.

Hiring a patent agent

Next up on the cost scale is to hire a patent agent. To become accredited by the Patent office a patent agent must have a four year degree that is in a field of technology and must pass the patent bar exam. This is a stringent process but it is not as tedious as becoming a patent attorney.

Since less training is required, patent agents are typically less expensive when used to prepare your patent or patent search. I use patent agents for my less complicated patents when I am trying to save some money. When choosing someone to write your patent always examine samples of their work. This will help you to determine if they have knowledge of your product category. It also helps you to get a feel for the quality of the work you will be receiving.

Hiring a patent attorney

Hiring a patent attorney, generally, most of the time, will be the most expensive way to get a patent. Patent attorneys at a minimum have spent four years in college and three years in law school getting their degrees and certifications. This training results in a higher billing rate.

Besides training, the other difference between patent attorneys and agents is what they are legally allowed to do. Only patent attorneys can help clients with issues such as patent validity, infringement cases, and all patent litigation. Patent agents can only prepare, file and prosecute patents. In most cases a patent agent can go enough for the average inventor.

What is the best choice?

I have in the past and continue to use all three methods for acquiring patents. Generally speaking how complicated the subject matter of the patent is determines which path I take. If you are really breaking new ground with your invention you will likely need to be heavily involved in the patent process no matter who is writing it. There is no substitute for the knowledge and experience of the inventor.

Be smart when you are deciding how to patent an invention. Don't try to go the cheapest route to save a dime and as a consequence have the quality of your patent suffer. The most valuable technologies or ideas need good strong patent coverage. Make sure you get it.


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