If your small technology firm has invented a new hardware product that you want to secure a patent for, then you need to understand how the process of obtaining one works. While you will ultimately need to enlist the help of a business law attorney to assist with the process, it is vital that you have a basic understanding of the process before you meet with your attorney for the first time. This knowledge will help you better maximize your legal bill budget and get the most from your attorney meetings.
Below is an outline of the required steps for your technology firm to obtain your new hardware invention patent:
Step 1: Keep Legally Acceptable Records of Your Invention and Its Development Process
In the United States, obtaining a patent is a complicated process. In order to stack the deck in your favor, you need to keep very detailed records of your invention and the process that brought it to fruition.
Your records should contain a personal account of how the idea first started to develop this exact hardware solution and the steps your company outlined for its creation. Additionally, you should include sketches and drawings of what the hardware item looks like and how it functions. You should include photos of your prototypes and blueprints for their design as well. Finally, you should also include an easy-to-understand explanation of what exactly the hardware is used for and why it is a worthwhile product in the marketplace.
Step 2: Determine that Your New Hardware Invention is Patentable
It is vital that you can explain to a layperson the marketability and use of your new hardware invention. Without a market for your new product, the item is not able to be patented, because one of the qualifications for a patent is that the new invention is useful and has a potential market for its purchase.
If you and your business attorney agree that your invention should qualify for a patent, then a patent researcher will conduct some research on the patents already in existence that are similar to your new invention. This patent search helps to determine the uniqueness of your invention, proves it is useful in the marketplace and proves to the patent office that your hardware invention is worthy of its own patent.
Step 3: Submit the Paperwork to Obtain Your Patent
Finally, once your records and patent search are completed, then a business attorney (such as one from Caldwell Kennedy & Porter) can file for your patent with the patent office. The required paperwork includes:
- a patent application
- a Declaration and Power of Attorney
The patent application is straightforward, and the Declaration and Power of Attorney is simply a legally binding statement that you are in fact the inventor of your new hardware product.