The U. S. patent office determines the invention’s patentability by carefully reviewing the application of the inventor. The examination process in U S patent office usually takes 12 to 18 months. In order to determine the patentability, the U S patent office examiners only verify that the description and claims per description by their inventors are new, unique, and not obvious to the U S patent office
Before applying for a patent, inventors can make a search of patents already granted, text books, journals and other publications to be sure that someone else has not already invented their idea.
The first step in getting a patent idea in U S Patent Office is a professional patent search to see what related inventions are out there and to see if you can protect your idea.
There are several requirements for an invention to be patentable, which are: (1) useful, (2) novel, and (3) non-obvious. The novelty requirement of U S patent office is often consider the entry test for patentability.
In U S patent office only the inventor is allowed to apply for a patent. If the inventor is deceased, application may be made by the inventor’s legal representatives to the U S Patent Office which includes the administrator or executor of the Estate. If the inventor is mentally incapacitated, the application for a patent to the US Patent Office may be made by a guardian. Frequently, companies file patents to the U S Patent Office in the name of inventory employees.
Two or more inventors may apply for a patent in U S Patent Office as joint inventors though they did not physically work together on an invention, did not contribute equally to the invention or their contribution is not represented in every claim of the invention. However, each inventor must claim some role in the final conception of the invention. An investor or venture capitalist is not a joint inventor and cannot be named in the application to the U S Patent Office as an inventor.
If the inventor refuses to sign the application to the U S Patent Office or cannot be found, a joint inventor or a person having a proprietary interest in the invention may apply for a patent to the U S Patent Office on behalf of the refusing inventor.
The U S patent office costs can be very high for some people although fees for the patent application, issue and maintenance fees and other related fees are reduced by 50 percent when the applicant is a small business or individual inventor. The U S patent office charges a minimum of about $4,000 over the life of the patent.