A patent application is best filed before any public disclosure of the invention. In the United States, there is a one-year grace period from the inventor's own public disclosures of the invention to file a nonprovisional or provisional application for patent. Certain international jurisdictions do not afford a grace period and any prior enabling disclosure of the invention in the United States may foreclose the grant of patent protection in those countries having an "absolute novelty" requirement.
It is important that you secure the earliest patent application filing date for your invention. A provisional application for patent can be used by a patent applicant to secure a filing date while delaying the costs associated with the filing and prosecution of a nonprovisional patent application, and allows the inventor more time to assess the commercial viability of his or her invention.
The preparation of an application for patent and the conducting of the proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to obtain the patent is an undertaking requiring the knowledge of patent law and rules and USPTO practice and procedures, as well as knowledge of the scientific or technical matters involved in the particular invention.
Inventors may prepare their own patent applications and file the applications in the USPTO and conduct the proceedings themselves, but unless they are familiar with these matters or study these proceedings in detail, they may have considerable difficulty. While a patent may be obtained in many cases by persons not skilled in this work, there would be no assurance that the patent obtained would adequately protect the particular invention.
Types of Patent Applications
At Hoofe IP Law, we can guide you through the patent application process from start to finish.
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