This is the first draft of a patent, which is usually used for filing a provisional application or for running a patent search. We usually recommend that inventors prepare the provisional draft and then seek guidance on how to properly structure it and whether or not additional information is required.
Regardless of whether you are an individual a startup, a medium-sized enterprise, or a conglomerate, the speed by which your invention is brought to market is paramount to your success. Provisional patents are basically draft patent applications which allow innovators to immediately file an application for their new idea as soon as they come up with it. Provisional patents are tools created to protect new inventions from being copied for a period of 12 months while you are preparing for your full application.
Why do you file provisional patents:
- You benefit from a 12 month period where the patent will not be examined or published
- You can prepare and perfect your patent application and disclosures
- Formality requirements are very low along with the fees, which makes this accessible and affordable for innovators.
- Because there is no examination the turnaround is immediate and you receive a provisional filing number and filing date as soon as you file.
- If you continue to apply for a patent your protection date is the provisional date giving your application priority over other patents filed after it.
- You can use the “patent pending” label as soon as a provisional application is filed
Provisional patents are only available in the United states so innovators choosing this path should plan on filing the Non-provisional patent in the United States or internationally through the PCT.
Regardless of what country you would like to protect your patent in, novelty is a key condition for protection. “Prior art” is a technical term that refers to all the public information, such as research, inventions or granted patents that exists prior to yours. So before you spend countless hours and thousands of dollars to go through the patent process, innovators usually conduct a prior art search. A prior art search is a search which scans all public databases internationally to assess whether or not an idea is Novel and meets the requirements and the conditions of a patent. Such searches are usually conducted at the beginning of the patent process and help guide you on whether or not you should be your precious time transforming your idea to a patent.
Why do you conduct prior art searches;
Conducting extensive prior art searches is a key ingredient for drafting strong claims, and challenging questions which may be posed by examiners, thereby saving a lot of time and money to transform an idea to a granted patent.
So before spending your time and money, on drafting and filing a patent conduct a “Prior Art search”
Not all ideas are patentable but that does not mean you are free to use them. You do not want to find yourself setting up a factory and starting production only then to receive a lawsuit because you infringed on someone’s patent! Freedom to operate (FTO) searches are tools which enable entrepreneurs and companies to avoid such situations by scanning the market for protected patents and advising whether or not a project infringes on a protected patent.
Why conduct Freedom to Operate searches?
As patents are granted for each country or jurisdiction at a time, freedom to operate searches are issued on a country-by-country basis. The freedom to operate search (FTO) is sometimes referred to as an Infringement Analysis report and should be completed for projects at very early stages, and in the specific country you are planning to operate in.
Do the Smart thing conduct an FTO and get insights on the competitive landscape!
Many people think that drafting a patent is an easy and straight forward process but unfortunately it is not!!
Drafting a patent is the process of converting the idea you have into words and writing them in a specific format and structure. The time and effort required for drafting the patent is dependent on where you are in the patent process, so we usually advise clients to think of drafting in three main intervals;
Every patent draft includes 7 main parts in a specific order. The consistency in applications helps patent offices standardize the process and ensure that all patents applied are consistent in format and disclosure requirements. The following order is followed;
A well Drafted Patent is the recipe for a successful patent application so take your time, cover all your bases, and we are here to guide you each step of the way.
A patent is a document which embodies an invention. Time, effort and money spent on transforming an invention from a mere idea to a patent document with proper disclosures.
So no, the answer to your question of whether your idea can be protected the answer is a no, your idea has to be drafted and embodied in a patent then filed and then granted in order to be protected. To obtain rights to exclusively use the invention, a patent has to be granted in the country (jurisdiction) of interest. The patent protection process, which is referred to as the patent prosecution process starts with filing (depositing) the patent at the patent office in the country of interest.
Filing is technically the process of submitting the patent document to the patent office you choose.
In order to file a patent, an innovator should have a couple of matters cleared up;
How can I protect my patent in Europe? Is there any way to protect the patent in several countries through one application?
There are several routes to take in order to protect the patent in more than one jurisdiction at the same time, one of the main is filing through the European Patent office (EPO):
While the patent will be granted by the European Patent office one of the benefits offered by filing a patent at the EPO is the ability to validate patent in non-European countries.
The European Patent Organization has signed validation agreements with non-member states including; Morocco - Republic of Moldova - Tunisia - Cambodia – Georgia.
Soon after you come up with your genius idea and decide you want to explore protecting it as a patent, you have to decide which countries to apply for patent protection in, as patents are` granted for each country or jurisdiction at a time. Depending on the countries chosen, you may need to submit the patent application in the language you drafted the patent in or in other languages, and therefore you will need to translate the patent.
As patent applications are technical in nature and stem from genius ideas created by inventors, translating them into different languages requires the involvement of technical experts in the field with command of two languages the language the initial draft is in and the language you would like to translate the patent to. In a nutshell, translating a patent is a pretty extensive process.
Our portal aims to transform the time consuming technical and extensive translation process to an easy and smooth one by providing automation and translation tools and professionals to help manage the process and improve the outcome of the translation. With Easy Patents, no claim will be lost in translation!
Can I protect my Patent Internationally? When should we choose the international route? How we can do it, and where do we start?
These are very simple questions we frequently get from Inventors once they see that the invention, has a great potential and can be used all over the World. When that is the case, inventors can benefit from the Patent cooperation Treaty (PCT) by filing an international patent application.
This treaty provides inventors with the possibility to seek patent protection internationally covering many countries who have signed the treaty. The key however is to do so within a timeframe of 30 to 31 months. This treaty is instrumental in patent protection as it simplified and standardized the process for obtaining patent protection internationally. Making patent protection more efficient and economical for users of the patent system (applicants and inventors).
Who can benefit from filing a PCT applications?
In order to seek protection for a patent using the PCT, an applicant needs to be a national, a resident or have an address in one of the contracting countries, there are 153 contracting states.
What is the process of filing an international application?
The process can be summarized as follow:
Different countries have different requirements for patent filings however most commonly these requirements are a deed of assignment from the inventors to the applicant and a power of attorney to whoever is representing you. You can refer to the resource center to learn more.
There are two types of national filings depending on whether or not you have an international application:
You have invested countless hours and thousands of dollars to draft and prosecute an amazing idea which you have embodied in a patent, and it was finally granted! Your investment and commitment do not stop here, as a patent owner you have to pay patent annuities in order to maintain your rights.
Simply put patent annuities are renewal fees which are:
When thinking of annuities as yearly maintenance fees it seems pretty straight forward and easy, but the truth is because of the dependency on local laws, annuities can be tricky and any mistake or lapse may lead to the loss of your patent rights. We have therefore built a platform and systems to provide our clients with transparent, reliable, secure and efficient solutions to manage patent annuities.
Annuity payments were put in place to promote ingenuity as they incentivize patent holders to continuously reexamine whether or not the idea protected by the patent is worth paying for. If not, then the idea becomes available for the public to promote exponential innovation.