If you have invented something, you probably want to file a patent for it. This prevents other people from claiming the idea of your invention as their own. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, a patent is “a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the USPTO in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.” Basically, they let the public know that your invention belongs to you, and then you are the only person who can control the making of that invention for a set amount of time.
Filing can be a bit confusing, so getting a patent attorney can be a big help. Here are some ways a lawyer can benefit you throughout the filing process and beyond.
Knowing your invention is patentable
Before you even take the time to fill out the paperwork, you want to make sure your invention is eligible. This is where things get a little tricky. According to the USPTO, things that are patentable are a
- Article of Manufacture
- Composition of Matter
- Improvement of any of the above
Things that cannot be patented are
- Laws of nature
- Physical phenomena
- Abstract ideas
- Literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works
- Inventions which are:
o Not useful
o Offensive to public morality
You can see where the confusion can come into play. Who decides if an invention is not useful or offensive? What counts as an improvement? A patent attorney can help you navigate these qualifications before you fill out a single form. That way when you do file, the chances of actually obtaining a patent are much higher than without a lawyer.
Patent attorneys can also do a patent search for similar inventions. It is possible that your invention is already patented by someone else. A lawyer or agency will be able to find out if this is the case. This is an important step to take so you don’t waste time or money filing when you will end up getting denied.
If the USPTO thinks the invention may be “detrimental to national security,” they will send it for a third-level security review. If the defense agency that reviews the patent decides it is potentially dangerous, it may be granted under a secrecy order. A patent attorney can be helpful in understanding this process.
If you receive a patent but find an error in your certificate, you will need an attorney to help you fix the problem. This process will involve submitting a letter describing the error. A lawyer must sign the letter in order for it to be valid. They can also help you obtain the other documents needed so that your error will be fixed by the patent office.
Power of attorney
When you submit a patent application, you include a list of who has the power of attorney on that patent. This is the person or group of people that can change and control the patent if you are no longer able to. Having a good attorney that you trust in your power of attorney list is important for keeping your patented products safe for years to come.
How to find a patent attorney near me
Do you need a patent attorney to help with researching or filing? Locate Legal Help makes your search quick and easy. Simply go to their website and enter the type of legal help you need along with your zip code. After answering a few more questions specific to your case, Locate Legal Help will give you free information about where to find the attorney best for you.