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The Process Of Getting A Patent

The patent process can be extremely complicated — especially for those who have never applied for a patent before. Utility patent applications are complicated and can be difficult to file — and a simple mistake in the application can result in extremely detrimental consequences.

At Kaufhold & Dix Patent Law, our lawyers have been representing inventors, individuals and small businesses in transactional patent matters for over 20 years. We have obtained over 1,900 patents on behalf of our clients and have dedicated our lives to helping people just like you get the legal protection they deserve for their inventions.

The Patent Process — What To Expect

Although the process for obtaining a patent is complex — and can vary greatly depending on the exact nature of your invention and the prior art — we've distilled it down to a few essential steps.

  • A thorough patent search is not required but should be conducted — preferably by someone who is knowledgeable in conducting a worldwide search — to determine if your invention has already been disclosed or patented. At Kaufhold & Dix Patent Law, we will have the search performed and provide you with an opinion letter that, among other things, details the results of our search and tells you if we think obtaining a patent for your invention is possible.
  • After reviewing your opinion letter, you may decide to prepare a patent application. A utility patent application includes a specification, claims and drawings. Any protection you obtain will be defined by the claims and the protection provided may be very broad depending on the claim language allowed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  • Most patent applications must include patent drawings which are used to provide an example of your invention for the patent examiner. At Kaufhold & Dix Patent Law, we will take care of the drawings needed for your patent application — and the cost of the drawings is included in our complete service flat fee.
  • Once we have an approved set of drawings, we will write your patent application , send it to you for your inspection and signature, and then file it with the USPTO. It is at that time that you will be patent pending.
  • Once you are patent pending, you can market your invention for the purposes of placing your product in the marketplace, selling your invention to a third party or licensing your invention to another.
  • You will receive an office action from the USPTO typically anywhere between 12 and 36 months after your patent application was filed. This office action sets forth the USPTO's determination as to what, if anything, is patentable in your claims. The cost of responding to these office actions is included in our original complete service flat fee. Typically, in the case of a negative finding by a patent examiner, there will be between two and four responses required — all of which are included in our one time complete service flat fee.
  • Upon allowance of your application, you will be required to pay a government issue fee and the application will issue as a patent. We do not bill you handling fees for forwarding the issue fee to the government, nor do we bill you to forward the patent certificate to you.

Once a utility patent is obtained, it is valid for 20 years from the date the patent application was filed and government maintenance fees must be paid at 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years after the date of the issuance of the patent to keep the patent in effect for the full 20 years.

Our Experience — Your Patent Protection

Remember — if you decide to apply for a utility or design patent, you must do so within one year of the first public use or disclosure, sale or offer for sale of your invention or any item embodying the invention. Otherwise, under the one-year rule, you may lose your right to get protection for parts of — or your entire — invention.

Contact us today for a free consultation. With offices in Edina, Minnesota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, our friendly, knowledgeable patent attorneys help clients nationwide. Contact us online or call 605-334-1571 for Sioux Falls or 952-426-0314 for the Twin Cities.