“Lay inventors can patent a product themselves”. This is the opinion of patent attorney David Pressman who has written possibly the best book on self-patenting, Patent It Yourself.
The process of preparing a patent comes after you have invented a product and have done some patent searching and taken useful notes.
To patent a product is to work through a detailed process that can’t be covered on one web page. But we will show you the basics to get you started. And we will give you references to help with details.
We recommend here that you plan to file your patent application online. Online is cheaper, in terms of fees, and is somewhat simpler than the traditional process of paper and snail mail. But some people prefer to apply for a patent using paper and mail because they believe that the process is less error prone.
You can go online to the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and obtain free forms for preparing your US patent application at Forms For Patent Applications. Use of official forms is not an absolute requirement of the PTO, but you must provide the information required by the Patent Laws and Rules. There are NO ACTUAL FORMS for some parts of the patent application, such as the specification section listed below. But the information is required to be in a format specified in Application Requirements.
You can see a PTO flow chart of the process for each type of patent application at Process for Obtaining a Patent.
The forms, fees and papers required for a non-provisional utility patent (the most usual type of patent application) are:
1. Utility Patent Application Transmittal form (AIA/15).
2. Fees, including appropriate filing, search, and examination fees. You can submit fees using a credit card. View PTO Fee Schedule.
3. Application Data Sheet form (AIA/14), providing bibliographic and other applicant data.
4. The specification of the invention containing the following (this can be typed using a word processing program, and double-spaced):
a. Title of invention.
b. Cross-reference to related patent applications.
c. Statement of any federally sponsored research.
d. Reference to any biotech sequence listing or computer program attached as a compact disc or appendix.
e. Background of the invention, including prior art, and advantages of the invention.
f. Brief summary description of the invention.
g. Brief description of the drawing figures by number.
description of the invention, description and operation of each embodiment. (An embodiment is other forms that an
invention can take.)
j. Abstract – a technical summary of the invention.
5. Drawings. See Drawing Requirements.
6. Patent Application Declaration form (AIA/01, or AIA/08).
7. Nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence listing, when necessary.
8. Large tables or computer listings, when necessary.
9. Information Disclosure Statement by Applicant (form PTO/SB08a), including lists of foreign patents & of non-patent literature (all prior art), and copies of the prior art.
Prepare to patent a product with the USPTO by electronic filing of your application. Determine application processing fees and apply for a customer number and digital certificate. Application for the digital certificate is done by US Mail and will take several days to complete the process. In the mean time, you will need to convert all completed forms and papers into PDF files prior to patent filing in order to patent a product. And you can familiarize yourself with EFS-Web, the PTO’s web-based patent application submission system.
For information about applying for a patent in a country other than the US, check the Manual for the Handling of Applications for Patents, Designs and Trademarks Throughout the World, published by Wolters Kluwer. This is available online by subscription.