The Patent Process

The-Patent-Process-IMAGEThe American spirit largely rests with inventors—the small sub-sect of people who manage to keep coming up with new ideas when it feels for the Everyman that it’s all been done. In fact, the spirit of invention is so prevalent to the American psyche that protection for inventions, patents, was written into the Constitution. This was meant to encourage the sharing of ideas and spur the kind of innovation that led America into the Industrial Revolution—which it did. And yet today, especially in the tech industry, patents have become “both offensive and defensive weapons in the increasingly cutthroat modern business environment,” according to CNN Money Magazine. Knowing how to obtain and uphold a patent could be the difference between your business succeeding and falling by the wayside.

According to CNN Money, the patent law changed at the end of last year. “The new law,” CNN reports, “takes us from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system.” This means that the right to the patent lies not with the person who actually invented the tool or process, but to the person who managed to make it to the filing office first. “The starting block is the date of the application, not the date of invention.” Good rule of thumb? As soon as you have a working idea, “file as quickly as possible” As you move into this process, the most important first step is to hire an experienced business attorney.

Smaller businesses or entities will face lower fees for filing for a patent than large corporations, but any business receives a discount if it files online. If filing for a full patent isn’t in the budget for your business off the bat, you can alternately file for a provisional patent. According to CNN, “they are quicker, easier and cheaper than the alternative… [and] you can use the provisional filing date to get ahead of the competition.”

If you or someone you know is interested in the patent process for your small business or entity, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area business attorney today.

Image courtesy of Chaloemphan /