If you have a promising idea or invention that you believe will make you rich, then it is important to know how to get a patent. Patenting your idea or invention ensures that you are the only person with sole ownership (property rights) to the idea or invention. It thus excludes anyone else from using or marketing your idea or design. The body that governs the issuance of patents is the Patents and Trademark Office.
While it is possible to get a patent without a lawyer's assistance, it is better to involve a lawyer when getting a patent. The process of getting a patent is governed by several steps and often includes the assistance of an attorney.
Applying for a patent
Applying for a patent can be done by one person or jointly with another person. However, the right to the patent belongs to the inventor who legally has the rights to be mentioned in the patent application.
First, the applicant must request for a grant of the patent, then give an explicit description of the invention stated in the application that may be in the form of drawings or one or more claims. The last element in the application is a summary description of the application. The application should include payment of a filing fee.
What qualifies an invention for patenting?
Not every invention gets a patent. For an invention to deserve a patent, it needs to pass four main requirements, which are:
Utility: Be a useful invention
Novelty: Be a one of its kind invention (entirely new)
Obviousness: Be an apparent invention
Patentable subject matter: Be an invention that can be given a patent. This requirement can prove challenging for certain inventions, such as a new mathematical formula, genetic invention or game.
Why get legal assistance when filing for a patent?
The most obvious reason is the simple fact that there is a law regarding patents. The Patents Act 1992, which makes a patent a legally acceptable documentation that confirms proof of ownership. As such, the drafting and processing of patents is done within a specialized area of the law, hence requiring the legal expertise of a lawyer to help with the process.
Sometimes it may prove a bit hectic to get a patent. However, with the assistance of a lawyer you can still manage to secure your idea or invention by getting a provisional patent. The provisional patent still gives you property rights, allowing you to hone your invention and pursue a non-provisional application, while still having a patent pending status for your invention. It also sets the stage for an easier filing process since it establishes an early filing date.
Other reasons a lawyer is important include:
Dealing with cases of infringement when anyone makes or puts on the market a patented product.
Determining the extent of the protection of the invention, as defined in the patent.
Revocation of the patent as stipulated by the 1992 Patent Act.
While it is important to know how to get a patent by yourself, you should remember that a patent is a complex legal document that serves as proof of ownership, protecting your idea or invention from third parties. Therefore it is better to do the patent application with the assistance of a lawyer, who in some cases may offer their services pro-bono.