Patent a Product Basics

Learning how to patent a product is important for many companies, startups and entrepreneurs.  If you do not follow the typical patent process, there is a significant chance that you will make costly mistakes.

How to Patent a Product

Step 1:  Patent Search

Prior to getting a patent for a product, it is recommended that you first perform a U.S. patent search.  A U.S. patent search will help you determine if you should spend the money patenting a product.  While a patent search is not a guarantee of patentability or required by the U.S. Patent Office, it is usually the first step before getting a patent on a product.

Step 2:  Draft Patent Application

Assuming the patent search indicates that getting a patent for your product is feasible, the next step is to prepare a patent application.  You have two main options in preparing your patent application: (1) draft the patent application yourself or (2) hire a qualified U.S. Patent Attorney.

Learning how to patent a product yourself can be very difficult even for the most experienced inventors.  Most reputable people in the invention industry will recommend that you hire a U.S. patent attorney to patent a product.  A patent attorney will have years of experience in preparing and prosecuting patent applications with the U.S. Patent Office which should give your product the best chance of getting a patent.

During the preparation of your patent application for the product, your patent attorney will send you a draft of the patent application to review prior to filing with the U.S. Patent Office.  If you have any questions or suggestions for your patent attorney, make sure to contact them immediately after receiving the first draft of the patent application.

Step 3:  File

Application is approved by you, the next step is for your patent attorney to file the patent application for the product with the U.S. Patent Office which will give you “patent pending” status.  A patent application needs to be filed with the USPTO before you will have any chance of patenting a product

Step 4:  Prosecution

After the patent application is received by the Patent Office, they will perform a separate patent search and send you an Office Action (basically a patentability opinion from the U.S. Patent Office) indicating the patentability of your product.  Most first Office Actions result in the initial denial of your patent application. 

To patent a product, your patent attorney will then have to file a Response with the U.S. Patent Office arguing why your product is deserves a patent.  The Response may also include claim amendments to help improve the patentability of your product at the U.S. Patent Office. 

The U.S. Patent Office will hopefully respond with a Notice of Allowance which indicates that your product can receive a patent.  However, the U.S. Patent Office may send a Final Office Action indicating that the Patent Examiner disagrees with the Response (you can file a second Response and/or file a Request for Continued Examination).

Step 5:  Issue Fee

Assuming you receive a Notice of Allowance , you then will be required to pay a government Issue Fee to finally get a patent on the product.  After the Issue Fee is received by the U.S. Patent Office, your product will typically receive a granted patent within 1-3 months.