Invention Questions – FAQ

What type of invention can I patent?

In the United States, an inventor may obtain a patent on almost any invention that is (a) different and (b) better than existing technology.  The general requirements for patentability are set forth in Section 101 of the U.S. Patent Act:

“Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvements thereof, may obtain a patent, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.”

The boundaries for what can be patented are extremely broad.  Most inventions are patentable provided that they are both new and not obvious.  If you have any questions, contact us for a free consultation.

Do I need to make a prototype of my invention?

No.  Under U.S. Patent law, an inventor only needs to disclose how to make the invention.  An inventor can receive a patent for clear idea for a product, with clear instructions for making and using it.

How much does it cost to get a patent on my invention?

It depends.  The patent process takes several years.  The overall costs depend on many variable during that time.  At the initial stages, the costs depend primarily on the quality of the inventor’s disclosure. (An excellent detailed disclosure, leaving little room for ambiguity makes the patent application drafting process move smoothly.  By contrast, a disorganized ambiguous disclosure could require a considerable time just to decipher).

After filing the application, it must be examined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  The costs associated with patent prosecution depend on how the invention is perceived by the patent examiner.  Sometimes getting the claims allowed requires very little arguing.  In other cases, getting a patent may involve many rounds of arguing with the examiner and possibly an appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences.

In terms of actual numbers, Chadeayne LLC’s prices are extremely competitive.  See our Chadeayne LLC Price List.  We aim to provide clients with better work at a lower cost.  As a rule of thumb, your project should cost about 75% of what you would expect at a large patent firm.  To discuss actual numbers for your specific project, contact us for a free consultation.

How long does the patent process take?

Assuming full cooperation by the inventor, it should take about 1 month to perform a search and analysis.  After performing the search and analysis, it should take two weeks to draft the claims.  After those claims are approved by the inventor, it should take another two weeks to draft the patent application.  Accordingly, at Chadeayne LLC, an inventor can expect to move from initial engagement to filed application in about six months.

After filing a non-provisional application, it takes the United States Patent and Trademark Office about 2 years to begin examining the application.  (This timeline can vary depending on the technology area).  Once examination begins, it takes about 6 to 18 months to get the claims allowed.

Does a patent give me the right to sell my invention?

No.  A patent provides the owner with the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell the invention.  This exclusive right provides a monopoly on the invention for twenty years from the date the application is filed.

What is a patent?

A patent is a property interest, giving the owner the exclusive right to practice the invention that is described in the claims.  The patent provides the owner with the right to prevent others from practicing the invention.  That right can be enforced in Federal Court.  The patent owner can force an infringer to cease the infringing behavior and/or pay damages for the infringing acts.

When should I file a patent application on my invention?

Ideally, an inventor should file a patent application after fully developing the central idea but before disclosing the invention to others.