How to Get a Patent for Startup in the USA?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) distinguishes between the following types of patent documents offering various types of protection and safeguards for inventions.

  • Utility Patent – often referred to as a “patent for an invention”, is issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machines or devices, production or composition of a substance. This allows its owner to prohibit others from making, using or selling a patented invention for up to 20 years from the date of the patent application.
  • Design Patent – issued on a new and original design for industrial production. It allows you to prevent others from making, using or selling a patented design for 14 years from the date the patent was approved.
  • Plant Patent is issued for the invention of new species of plants bred selectively. It allows you to prohibit others from making, using or selling a patented plant for up to 20 years from the date a patent application is released.

Types of the patent for startup

There are several types of patent applications, but we will talk about two main of them:

  • provisional (preliminary);
  • nonprovisional (subsequent).

Filing for a provisional patent is characterized as “fixing” the filing date, which is insufficient for obtaining a US patent since, in the end, you will still need to file a nonprovisional (subsequent) application. However, there are significant advantages in filing provisional applications:

  • not have any formal requirements, and therefore is cheaper;
  • it is easier to prepare it since the application contains a minimum of formal requirements;
  • submitting such an application gives you 12 months to advance your invention.

Once the provisional application is developed and filed with the USPTO, it is necessary to immediately begin preparing the nonprovisional (subsequent) application. Remember that a provisional application never means a full patent in the United States. It allows to “hold” a place in the queue while you are advancing the invention.

The minimum necessary elements for a nonprovisional application:

  • one drawing;
  • at least one requirement.

The composition of a nonprovisional application is a very significant and difficult step in the patenting process. The original nonprovisional application cannot be changed meaning the project details cannot be altered.

As soon as work with the nonprovisional application is completed, it is submitted to the USPTO, where, after a preliminary assessment, it will be sent to the patent examiner. During the review of your application, you must constantly contact the US Patent Office to clarify the details of your invention and the status of the application. This is usually done by providing answers to the so-called Office Actions – official examiner requests.

If you have improved or modified your invention while the application was still under consideration, you can submit the so-called Continuation (additional) application. Submitting this type of application allows you to protect an improved invention while maintaining the original filing date of the application. Sometimes, before an application is reborn into a patent, you may come across new information materials relating to the patentability of an invention. In this case, it is necessary to submit a request for a continuation of the examination, or the RCE, which re-starts the examination of your application in the light of new information.

Category: General

Tags: Business, Startup