If you have a new invention or product, you want to protect your intellectual property and ensure no one else can use your invention for financial gain. A patent can help you protect your idea and prevents others from making, using or selling a product like yours.
A utility patent lasts for 20 years from the date you file your initial application for the new patent. (A design patent lasts for 15 years from the date of issue.) Once you file this initial application, it can take between two to four years for the USPTO to approve your application and issue the patent.
Steps to apply for a patent
There are several steps you must take to apply for a patent. Some of these steps involve searching for other patents for inventions similar to yours, drafting a patent application and filing a provisional application. Some patents take longer than others to gain approval if they get accepted for approval at all.
Understanding patent-pending status
After you file an application for your patent and await approval, your patent will receive patent-pending status. During this period, you can of course make, use and sell your particular product, but you should be sure to mark all your products as “patent pending.”
The USPTO has specific rules you must follow when filling out an application for a new patent. Conducting a thorough patent search, assessing the commercial potential of your invention and correctly filling out and filing your application can enhance your chances for approval.