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By Richard Gearhart
Founding Partner
  1. The first thing you need to have to file a patent application is a novel idea!
  2. What comes next depends on the type of invention:
    1. For a consumer products patent, you should have one or more sketches of your invention and a description.
    2. For a business method or software patent, you should have a concept and eventually a flow chart and/or a list of novel attributes.
    3. For a life sciences patent, you should have detailed understanding which could include a formula, recipe, molecular structures or process descriptions.

Once you have the basics, you can discuss your invention with a patent attorney, who can help you decide what can be protected and what the most important aspects of your invention are.

The patent attorney will most likely conduct a patent search to make sure you’re able to patent your idea.  If the search results indicate that your invention is patentable, it’s time to get started!

The information you shared with the attorney will be used to create the claims, which are the heart of the patent application, and in some cases, especially with consumer products, order the figures, also called drawings. The drawings are done by a professional draftsman who knows the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) drawings requirements and can get them right the first time.

The attorney should send you the claims and drawings once they’re done to make sure nothing was missed or done incorrectly.

Once you approve the work, the patent attorney can start drafting your patent application.  They may communicate with you for clarification during this process, and you should tell them any new ideas you have about the invention that you want included in the patent application.

Once your patent application has been fully drafted, you should review it carefully and ask your patent attorney any questions you may have, and have them make any necessary changes.

Once you approve the application, your patent attorney will ask you to sign two forms; one is a power of attorney that grants them the right to interact with the USPTO on your behalf., and the second form is a declaration, where you declare that you’ve read and understand the patent application.

Once that’s all done, your patent attorney will file your application with the USPTO and you’re on your way!

About the Author
Richard Gearhart, Esq. is the founder of Gearhart Law and the host of a weekly radio show for entrepreneurs called “Passage to Profit”. He has built a firm with an international presence that helps entrepreneurs from around the world with their patent, trademark and copyright needs. Richard commands a breadth of experience that comes from nearly 30 years of practice in the writing and prosecution of hundreds of patents, and in all aspects of Intellectual Property law. In 2022, Richard was recognized by ROI New Jersey as a 2022 ROI Influencer in the Law List category for being one of the best of the best in New Jersey for intellectual property law. Gearhart Law emerged from Richard’s passion for entrepreneurship and startups and his belief that entrepreneurship grows the economy and creates jobs. When we started Gearhart Law, our goal was to help and support the new business ventures of 500 entrepreneurs and inventors. After 12 years, the firm has far surpassed this goal; today, we look forward to helping even more inventors and entrepreneurs get off to a great start and reach their own goals.