Patent offices have specific rules to follow to get a patent. It can be done by anyone who is prepared to do research and to study the requirements.
Many individuals are successful in filing their own applications and having them approved.
In a nutshell, these are the steps to get a patent:
Note: Visit our main Patent page for links to the above.
Having submitted your patent application, you must now sit back and wait for the Patent Office to do the examination. During this process they may ask for further supportive documentation or simply reject your application due to:
If the patent is rejected, depending on how and why, you may modify the application or argue with the examiner, but you may not add new features or claims to the application.
The examining process can be lengthy and take anywhere between one and three years. You therefore have to make sure that your initial specification document is as complete as possible.
Having said that, it is unlikely for an application to be approved without queries and a request for more information from the examiner - even if the application was done by a professional!
Note: Have a look at The Business of Patents - if you are considering making use of a professional service, this site will give you an excellent overview of what a Patent Agent can do for you.
Some countries will only verify that the formalities have been complied with (non-examining countries). Other countries will do a full examination, considering prior art and whether in fact the invention passes all the requirements of a patent and as such can be granted a patent.
If the patent is granted, it will be published in patent journals and/or electronic media.
From that point onwards, you own a patent!!
Yes - and this can happen at any time within the lifespan of a patent. The reasons can be many and varied; for example:
You may want to consider consulting with a patent attorney or agent. Get a cost estimate for their services, should you need their assistance with some of the steps to get a patent.