Patent Law FAQ

You think you have a great idea, but you’re not sure of the path forward. It can feel overwhelming and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. You want to make well- informed decisions about what is best for your invention and long-term business goals. Getting answers to the questions that keep you up at night can be critical to making the right decisions.

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Here are the most frequently asked questions, along with our expert insights.

In the US, a patent is a property right granted by the government. It gives the patentee the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the patented invention in the US for a period of time.

The average time it will take to get a patent is 22-30 months from the date you file your patent application. This time frame will range depending on the type of patent you are seeking and the level of complexity behind your patent.

Read more about the patent process, and how you can help ensure it goes smoothly.

Generally, the typical cost for a patent will range between $1,000 and $20,000. 

This range of thousands of dollars hinges on how much you decide to do yourself, how many claims you want to claim within your patent application, and the extent to which you utilize a patent attorney. Note that the bottom of the range is only possible if you entirely manage the process yourself and only need to pay Patent Office fees.

Read more about patent costs and what factors most determine how much you will spend.

No, you do not need a model or prototype to file for a patent application. But you do need to have enough information to explain your invention to someone who is capable of making it, such as a manufacturer.

That said, prototypes can be very useful. Find out more about how prototypes can benefit your patent process.

“Patent pending” means that you have a patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office for your invention.

Read more about what “patent pending” means and how it could impact your idea.

Unfortunately, algorithms on their own cannot be patented because they are considered an “abstract idea.” However, you can patent the software process underlying your algorithm.

Read more about how you can protect the software process behind your valuable idea.

A poor man’s patent is a myth that entails writing a description of your invention and then mailing it to yourself. This postmarked envelope supposedly acts to create the date of your invention as the date this written description was postmarked. This is a false protection with legal foundation. 

Read more about how the “poor man’s patent” myth came to be and what constitutes true legal protection under US patent law. 

While that can vary depending on circumstances surrounding your particular trademark, the whole process typically takes about a year to complete.

Read more about the trademark process and how to position yourself for success.

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