After you have come up with a fabulous invention, the next thing on your mind must be how to patent it. Be aware that there will be lots of documentation that you would need to fill up, which is why you need to know what things you should include in the papers you would submit to the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You would also have to file for the right kind of patent application. You may not know it, but there are different kinds of patents.

If you have no idea what to write in your application or what kind of patent application you’ll need to apply for, then you need to hire the services of a patent lawyer in Southern California or Southern Texas, wherever you are based. However, before you even consider hiring a patent attorney, it might be useful to do the following steps:

1) Establish the uniqueness and originality of your idea

Applying for a patent in itself is already expensive and time-consuming, so you have to make sure that your application succeeds. However, you can only patent a method or invention that has never been part of public knowledge before. Start with surfing the net to find out if someone else has already disclosed to the public an idea similar to yours. You can also drop a visit to your local library and archives. You may also inquire with the PTO through email or a personal appointment.

2) Document your invention as your project progresses

Once you have established that your idea is unique and original, you can then proceed to make your one-of-a-kind invention. However, remember to make a descriptive journal of how your work progresses each day. Note the date when you began working on your project and the date when you finished all tests needed to verify its effectiveness. Also, find trustworthy witnesses who understand the general principles and goals of your invention, which can sign the daily journals for you. They will play a significant role in proving your patent claim later on. Keep your pictures, journals, blueprints, and other files related to your invention organized.

3) Know that a patent agent and attorney are different types of professionals

You might have come across a patent agent as you were planning to have someone help you in filing your application. While a patent agent can assist you in the general procedure of filing, they can’t represent you in court in case of disputes as that falls outside of their mandate. Only a patent attorney is legally allowed to draft and negotiate production and distribution contracts with interested parties after you have received your patent.

4) Draft your white paper and bring your invention model to your attorney

Hiring a patent attorney is expensive. You can cut on the hours you pay them by writing a detailed explanation of how your invention works and why it is unique and original. A detailed explanation would reduce the frequency and length of consultations with your patent attorney. Also, bring a prototype or a scaled model of your invention during your earliest meetings. These materials would help your attorney grasp your invention and its implications intuitively and conveniently, saving you hourly charges.

5) Exercise due care in your confidential information

You don’t want your years of hard work getting stolen by someone for their benefit. Similarly, you don’t want to tell the public inadvertently. Theft and carelessness in statements can compromise your patent application. Thus, secure information concerning your invention confidential except to your witnesses and patent attorney. Assume that all computers, smartphones, USB drives, and the internet can be easily hacked, so make sure never to store any information related to your invention in those devices. Keep your information in physical form (paper, microfiche) and store them inside a safe.

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