Patent Lawyer FAQ's

Introduction

I am a licensed patent lawyer in Ohio. In this article, I answer FAQ’s that clients and information seekers ask me personally or search online as they gather information and consider filing a patent application.

Patent Fees and Costs

How much does it cost to patent an idea?

The costs of patenting an idea are attorney’s fees, filing fees, and drafting fees for any drawings. Patenting an idea can be done without developing a prototype if you can sufficiently explain how the invention is possible to create for consumers. Filing fees can be reduced for small and micro entities. You can reduce the cost of attorney’s fees by filing the application yourself (non-business individuals) or applying for a pro bono attorney (businesses). Therefore, it is possible to obtain a patent for the filing fee alone, which is around $80 for micro entities.

How can I get a patent with no money?

You cannot get a patent for absolutely free. You must at least pay the filing fee. However, it is theoretically possible to get a patent for less than $100 by filing the application yourself or applying for a pro bono patent lawyer. The USPTO (as well as some states, including Ohio) has a program to apply for a pro bono patent lawyer, available on the USPTO website.

What is the cheapest way to get a patent?

The cheapest way to get a patent is to submit your application as a micro entity. This reduces your filing fees by 75%. Further expenses can be reduced by applying for a pro bono patent lawyer

What is the basic filing fee for a patent utility?

The basic filing fee for a utility patent is $320. The utility patent filing fee for entities that qualify as small entities is $160 by paper and $80 by electronic filing. Micro entities can file for $80.

How much does it typically cost to file a patent application in the United States?

The typical cost to file a provisional patent application in the United States is $4,000. This consists of the average attorney’s fees of $3,500 plus filing fees and costs.

The typical cost to file a utility patent application in the Unities States is $10,000 — $12,000. This consists of the average attorney’s fees, starting at roughly $8,000 for simple patent applications, plus filing fees and responses to patent office actions.

How much does it cost to get a patent on a logo?

You don’t get a patent on a logo, you get a trademark on a logo. A trademark on a logo costs roughly $2,500 plus filing fees. The filing fees are roughly $350 per classification of goods or services. Your trademark will protect your logo in every class of goods it is applied to, and each class requires an additional filing fee.

How much is a patent in Ohio?

Patents are filed at the federal level, not at the state level. Since there is no state government entity accepting patent applications in Ohio, the costs of obtaining a patent in Ohio are the same as any other state.

How much does it cost to apply for a patent?

A patent application costs a filing fee of between $80 and $320 plus any attorney’s fees if you apply through an attorney.

How can I get a free patent?

You cannot get a free patent unless you find a pro bono patent lawyer or law firm that is willing to also cover your filing fees.

Are patent searches free?

Patent searches are free for individuals to conduct themselves on the USPTO and WIPO websites. Patent searches conducted by patent lawyers, patent agents, or professional search firms are not free and will cost either a flat fee or the lawyer’s standard hourly fee.

Patenting Ideas

Can I patent an idea only?

It is theoretically possible to patent an idea only. However, the idea must be developed and explained to the point where the idea is realistically possible to create according to your written description and drawings. In practice, most inventors want to obtain a patent on an idea that has not been throoughly developed and described, which is not possible.

Should I patent idea?

You should patent an idea if you are committed to commercially developing the resulting product, if you are ready to sell the idea to a production company, or if you are worried that another person may file an application on the idea.

Is it worth it to patent an idea?

It is always worth it to patent an idea if you plan to sell the resulting invention to consumers or if you plan to sell/license the patented idea to manufacturers.

How do I turn my idea into a product?

You can turn your idea into a product by thoroughly developing the idea and describing what it does, what it’s made of, and what its function is. Then, take this information to a manufacturer or engineer to develop a prototype. Once you have a prototype, you can take it to a manufacturer to create molds and begin mass production of the product.

What do you do when you have an invention idea?

When you have an invention idea, you should spend time thoroughly describing the idea in writing and attempting to draw the invention. Then you should perform a preliminary patent search on your idea on the USPTO website. Take your idea description and search results to a patent lawyer for a consultation and ask for an analysis on the patentability of your idea.

What type of ideas Cannot be patented?

The types of ideas that cannot be patented are:

  • undeveloped ideas;
  • abstract ideas;
  • algorithms or mathematic principles; 
  • subject matter that falls under trademark or copyright protection;
  • an idea that does not fall under the statutory categories of patentable subject matter.

The statutory categories of patentable subject matter are:

  1. Machines,
  2. Manufactures,
  3. Compositions of matter,
  4. Processes.

Patent Lawyer vs Patent Agent

What is the difference between a patent agent and a patent attorney?

The difference between a patent agent and a patent attorney is a state bar license held by patent attorneys. Both patent attorneys and agents must pass the USPTO patent bar exam, but patent attorneys maintain a state bar license to practice law. This allows patent attorneys to represent clients in front of the patent board of appeals and to litigate patent matters in court.

Is a patent attorney a lawyer?

A patent attorney is a lawyer because, to be a patent attorney, a person must maintain a state bar license.

Getting Paid For Your Patent

What companies buy ideas?

Almost all companies buy ideas if the idea is protected by patent rights and the idea falls within their standard business practices or offerings.

Can you get rich from an invention?

Yes, many businesses are built on patented inventions. A patent on an invention gives you the exclusive right to sell that invention. If it is an invention that many people will want, you can build a business selling the invention and make good money.

How much royalties do inventors get?

Inventors get royalties through agreement or litigation. When signing a licensing or sales agreement for a patent, you will receive whatever royalties you negotiate for. There is no set royalty value for agreements, so research your industry to see if there is a standard practice for setting royalties. Through litigation, a plaintiff can win “reasonable royalties”. This is again not a set value, and will be based on the surrounding factual circumstances.

How do I sell my idea to a big company?

To sell your idea to a big company, you will need to get in contact with the company’s legal department or department that handles business inquiries. Inform them that you have an idea for a product that falls within their business operations. If you conduct a meeting with them, have them sign a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement and then pitch your idea.

How do I license my idea?

If someone agrees to license your idea, you can send them a licensing agreement. The terms of the agreement should include how long they may use or sell the idea, what your payment or royalties will be, and it should express that you will retain the IP rights to the idea.

Can you sell an idea to a company without a patent?

You can sell an idea to a company without a patent. However, you will need to protect the idea with non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements before disclosing the idea in a pitch or else the company can just steal the idea.

How do I get paid for my invention idea?

To get paid for your invention idea, you must either turn the idea into a product that you sell or you must license/sell the idea to someone else that wants to produce the product.

Poor Man's Patent

What is a poor man's patent?

A poor man’s patent is a form of publication where a person mails a written description of an idea to themselves to receive a post office mail date. This is not an actual patent and does not provide any patent protection. It simply marks a date for purposes of publication. This will support the holder of the poor man’s patent as the inventor as of the mailing date, but will also start the 1-year timeline requiring the inventor to file a real patent application.

Will a poor man's patent hold up in court?

A poor man’s patent will hold up in court for its intended purpose; to show a publication date by the inventor. For the purposes of establishing exclusive patent rights, a poor man’s patent will not hold up in court because it is not an actual patent, nor does it provide any patent rights.

How do I do a poor man's patent?

To obtain a poor man’s patent, write a letter addressed to yourself fully describing each and every element of your invention. Take the letter to the post office and mail it to yourself. Once the letter returns to your address, save the post office mail date and you have a poor man’s patent.

How To Get a Patent: From An Ohio Patent Lawyer

How do I patent something in Ohio?

To patent something in Ohio, you need to file a patent application at the USPTO. You should consult with a patent lawyer to determine if your invention is patentable and to learn about the process for obtaining a patent.

What Can Be Patented

What can and Cannot be patented?

The subject matter that can be patented is subject matter that falls under the 4 statutory categories:

  1. Machines;
  2. Manufactures;
  3. Compositions of matter;
  4. Processes.

Additionally, the subject matter cannot consist of a judicial exception:

  • Abstract ideas;
  • Laws of nature;
  • Natural phenomenons.

 

Can you patent a hat design?

A hat design can be patented if it is purely ornamental and non-related to the function of the hat.

Prototypes

How do I get a prototype of my invention made?

To get a prototype made, you can make the prototype yourself or you can bring your invention idea to an engineer/manufacturer and work with them to create a prototype.

Does a homemade sample count as an official prototype?

Yes, a homemade sample counts as an official protoype for patent application purposes.

Can I patent an idea without a prototype?

Yes. A prototype or physical manifestation of an idea is not technically required to obtain a patent.

Types of Patents

What are the 4 types of patents?

The 4 types of patents are:

  1. Provisional patents;
  2. Utility patents;
  3. Design patents;
  4. Plant patents.

Trademarks

How do I patent a logo in Ohio?

You do not patent a logo, you trademark a logo. You can file a trademark at the state level (Ohio secretary of state) or at the federal level (USPTO).

Should I get my logo trademarked?

Yes, you should get your logo trademarked if possible. Without a trademark, someone else could see the success of your brand and steal your logo to siphon your market share.

Do I need a trademark or a patent?

You need a trademark for names, logos, phrases, and “trade dress” (color scheme or aesthetic associated with your business). You need a patent for ornamental designs or functionality on products.

How do you trademark a name?

You can trademark a name by filing a trademark application with the secretary of state or with the USPTO. You should consult with a trademark or IP attorney first to determine where to file and when you need to file.

How much does it cost to trademark a name in Ohio?

The filing fee for a trademark in Ohio is $125. This does not include attorney’s fees if you file through an attorney.

Patent Protection From An Ohio Patent Lawyer

How do you protect an invention?

You protect an invention by filing a patent application with the USPTO fully describing each and every element of your invention.

Can someone steal my idea if I have a patent pending?

Nobody can legally steal your idea regardless of whether you have a patent pending. Stealing your idea would disqualify the person as the inventor and only inventors can patent ideas. However, someone else may independently discover the same idea and patent it unless you file first. If your patent is pending then someone else would not succeed in filing an application on the same idea.

What rights do patents have?

Patents give the patent holder the exclusive rights to use and recreate the invention in commerce.

How much protection does a patent provide?

Patents provide full protection from others using or selling your patented invention in their business.

Patent Publication

How do you get a patent published?

Patent applications are published during the prosecution process of the application. This means that, if you file a patent application with the USPTO, it will be published for you. If not, you can publish your invention by describing each and every element of your invention to the public, including online or through social media.

What happens after a patent is published?

Once a patent application is published, the general public may submit information relating to the patentability of your application or invention. If no third parties submit information, your application will process as usual.

Are patents public record?

Issued patents are public record, except for patents that relate to certain information, including national defense. Patent applications are also public record unless they are expressly abandoned before publication and are not incorporated in a published application.

How long does it take for a patent to be published?

According to the USPTO, patent applications will generally be published either 18 weeks from the earliest filing date or 14 weeks after the mailing date of the filing receipt.

Patent Requirements

What are the 5 requirements for obtaining a patent?

The 5 requirements for obtaining a patent are:

  1. A written description;
  2. The filing fee;
  3. Inventor’s oath or declaration;
  4. Claims;
  5. Drawings if necessary.

What are the 5 requirements of a patent?

  1. A written description;
  2. The filing fee;
  3. Inventor’s oath or declaration;
  4. Claims;
  5. Drawings if necessary.

What is required to file for a patent?

  1. A written description;
  2. The filing fee;
  3. Inventor’s oath or declaration;
  4. Claims;
  5. Drawings if necessary.

What is the first step to getting a patent?

The first step to getting a patent is conducting a patentability search to ensure your invention can be patented.

What are the 13 steps to obtain a patent?

  1. Draft a written description of your invention;
  2. Draw a basic sketch of your invention;
  3. Conduct a patentability / prior art search on the USPTO website;
  4. Conduct the same search on the WIPO website;
  5. Schedule a consultation with a patent lawyer to analyze your findings;
  6. Hire a patent lawyer to conduct an official patent search and analysis;
  7. Work with your patent lawyer to define what aspects of your invention are new and patentable;
  8. Have your attorney draft an official written description claiming the new elements of the invention;
  9. Have your attorney disclaim all non-patentable elements of the invention;
  10. Have an engineer or draftsman draft official drawings of the invention;
  11. Work with an engineer or manufacturer to create a prototype of the invention;
  12. Have your lawyer draft an inventor’s oath or declaration for you to sign;
  13.  Submit an application including the inventor’s oath, written description, claims, drawings, and a filing fee to the USPTO.

Does a patent need to be registered?

No, a patent will be made public record by the USPTO when the patent issues.

When should I file a patent?

You should file a patent application before others see your invention and have the opportunity to recreate it for use or sale.

Can anyone file a patent?

Any resident of the United States can file a patent application in the US on behalf of themselves. Only patent agents and patent attorneys can file applications on behalf of others or businesses.

What happens after the patent application?

After a patent application is submitted, the patent office will respond to the application during the period called “prosecution”. During this time, the office will send office actions describing any errors with the application or moving the appication along towards issue.

What percentage of patents are approved?

Roughly two-thirds (67%) of patent applications are approved and issue into granted patents.

How is a patent granted?

A patent is granted by a patent examiner determining that the application is complete, the  invention is patentable, and no prior art anticipates or obviates the invention.

Getting a Patent Yourself

You can file a patent application yourself by submitting the required application forms to the USPTO online or through the mail and paying the filing fee. The requirements for a complete patent application are listed above and on the USPTO website.

Can I do a patent search myself?

You can conduct a patent search yourself on search engines, on the USPTO website, and on the WIPO website.

Where can I find granted patents?

The USPTO and WIPO websites maintain a database of issued patents, as well as published patent applications.

How long does it take to do a patent search?

A patent search typically takes several hours to conduct and the estimated amount of time will depend on how thorough you want the search to be. It is impossible to conduct the perfect search as unpublished applications may be pending, so consider this as you plan for your time or your professional searcher’s time spent.

What is the best patent search engine?

There is no one best search engine for patent searches. A patent search should include several different database searches, including the USPTO issued patents database, the USPTO patent applications database, the WIPO databases, and a general Google search.

Patent Term

How long does a patent last?

Patent terms vary between different types of patents:

  1. Utility Patents / Plant Patents: 20 years from the filing date;
  2. Provisional Patents: 1 year from the filing date;
  3. Design Patents: 15 years from the date of issue.

Does patent give lifetime protection?

No, patents have maximum term lengths and will lose protection once the term expires. Furthermore, patent protection lapses if the maintenance fees are not paid.

How long does it take to get a patent approved?

Patent applications on average take 3 years to be approved and issue into granted patents.

How do I know if my idea is already patented?

You may be able to determine if your idea is already patented by conducting a patentability / prior art search, or hiring a professional to conduct the search.

How long is a patent good for?

About Me

I went to law school at Capital University in downtown Columbus. There, I became the first person in school history to graduate the program (a 3-year program) in just 2 years while on the Dean’s list. I started my firm straight out of law school after marrying my beautiful wife and passing the bar exam. Now, I represent businesses in litigation, draft transactional documents, provide legal advise to business owners, and represent them in transactional negotiations.

Do you want to make your life easier?

Hey, I'm Joe Collier. I help businesses make their legal problems easier, and I want to do the same for you.

Patent terms vary between different types of patents:

  1. Utility Patents / Plant Patents: 20 years from the filing date;
  2. Provisional Patents: 1 year from the filing date;
  3. Design Patents: 15 years from the date of issue.