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"Patent Pending" In The U.S. - Tips For Building Patience

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By Reid Hampon

The Patent Process - Patience Pays Off In The End

Margaret Thatcher is quoted as saying, "I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end." While waiting for the patent process to run its course, you must exude much patience and perseverance to make it through patent licensing's long process. On average, the process take upward of 3 years, which is short in comparison to the finalized patent's lifespan of 20 years before you have to go through the same process again. In the meantime, many inventors and businesses label their items, services or ideas with "patent pending" or "patent applied for".

Even though the word patent on an article hold legal merit, the words patent pending holds no ground except to look decorative. All these words truly mean to the customer is a patent has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The words "patent pending" are not required on packaging. However, the word patent must be displayed on an article once that item is patented.

The "patent pending" process in the U.S. is really a matter of filing with the USPTO. When you receive a filing date, you are allowed to use the term "patent pending" for at least a year. But before you actually file, you should first consider these tips:

1. The process will take a very long time, so don't expect to get approved as soon as you file. Your invention won't receive any attention for quite some time. Try the mantra, "Patience is a virtue".

2. Your idea or invention may already be filed and patented. So, do some preliminary research through some sources like for free through USPTO at http://www.uspto.gov/.

3. To do a real and complete patent search, you'll need a licensed patent attorney.

4. Details matter a lot on the USPTO application. So, ask a patent attorney for assistance so you can be as accurate as possible. Unlike a layperson, only patent attorneys understand the right language to use to describe your service, product or idea. A useful legal source online is LegalZoom, which helps you do your application process step-by-step. LegalZoom can also prepare technical drawings and review your application for accuracy and regular errors.

5. You have to stand by your idea or invention and let it be known that this is purely your own throughout the process. This is where perseverance is critical in order for the patent to become all yours.

6. Several steps along the way require checks. The first check will be about $355, which covers filing. LegalZoom also guarantees a filing date upon completing your application and receiving your fee. When filing an application with USPTO, you will be mailed an official letter called "Notice of Allowance".

Your journey through the patent process does not after the application is submitted. The finalizing process of your patent costs roughly $685. Then when this process is done, you must pay your first periodic maintenance fee of $900. To keep your patent active over the next 20 years, you'll make more maintenance payments that will total around $3000.

Yes, the patent process requires a wait of about 3 years before you end up with a patent that is exclusively yours. This patent remains good for about 20 years as long as you keep up with maintenance fees. To sum up the benefits of a patent is a quote by Allen Kay regarding inventions, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

About The Author

Copyright 2005 Reid Hampon. All rights reserved.

Reid Hampon makes it easy for you learn about patents. His website, Yo Patent is an extensive on-line resource providing patent-related information. If that's of interest, go to http://www.yopatent.com/patent/.