Patents and the idea of intellectual property have both been around for quite some time both here in the United States as well as in many other places all throughout the world too. From the patent application to the patent attorney to the patent process, patent law has advanced since it was first used more than 200 years ago, however. Nowadays, filing a patent application is easier than ever, though the patent application process is still one that should be done as diligently and as fastidiously as is really humanly possible.
For those who are not sure how to go about getting and filling out a patent application, the help of a talented patent lawyer might be in order. Patent lawyers know the ins and outs of patents, including that of the patent application process. In order to fill out a patent application, for instance, your invention must fit a number of criteria. A patent lawyer can help you to determine whether or not your invention does. If it does, then you can continue on in your quest to seek patent protection here in the United States.
And the filling out of patent applications has truly become more commonplace than ever before, at least here in the United States. In fact, up to a full half of a million patent applications will be filed each and every year here in the United States alone – and then received by the USPTO. Typically, these patent applications will come out of 12 industries where applying for a patent application is commonplace – and such patent applications tend to be accepted about 50% of the time, a solid half. However, this does not mean that someone outside of these 12 industries cannot apply for a patent, and many people still end up doing so no matter what industry in this country they might be a part of.
Of course, the patent application process can be a long one, with a good deal of waiting involved. Fortunately, a provisional patent application will allow for temporary patent level protection for your invention during the period of time during which your patent application – and whether or not an actual patent will be granted – is being considered. This is where the term “patent pending” comes from, but it is also important to note that this type of patent protection will only last for however long your patent application is being considered – or no longer than 12 full months, whichever happens first. This makes sense, of course, as you will typically have been granted a patent or denied one within this time frame.
It will also be incredibly important to understand the terms of your patent as well, as patents do not, unfortunately, last forever. Typically, an average patent will last for about 20 years, which is quite considerable as it spans the course of two full decades. Of course, it is also very important to consider the fact that not all patents are the same (depending on the the type of invention and the type of patent that best fits it) and that some patents will last for considerably shorter or longer than others do. Speaking with a patent lawyer can help to make this aspect of patent law and trademark law more clear, in case it ends up being a bit confusing (as it can often be for those who are quite unfamiliar with it and new to it).
It’s also critical to understand when your patent’s term actually starts, as this is essential to know for eventually filing for a replacement patent when the current one runs out. This is actually something that will come as a surprise to many who are filling out a patent application for the very first time, but the term of a patent actually begins as soon as the patent application is completed and submitted. If you really think about it, however, it begins to make sense, as your invention is provided with that provisional patent protection while your application is decided upon. If your patent application is accepted, this patent pending time counts as part of the time that the patent has actually been in use.