FAQ

FREQUENTLY

ASKED QUESTIONS

PatentPathway.com is a complete patent drafting and filing system for independent inventors who want to obtain US patent rights.

 

Anyone can use it. It does not matter where you live – the US is a VAST marketplace and if you intend to obtain patent rights anywhere, you will certainly want patent coverage in the USA.

 

For one fixed cost, we give you everything you need to draft and file a high-quality patent application. It starts with an amazing tutorial that guides you step-by-step through the process. We also show you to handle every step of patent drafting, filing and examination with the USPTO. If you need help at any time, just email one of our highly experienced US patent attorneys, licensed by the US Patent Office. PatentPatehway.com is fully supported by expert patent agents and attorneys licensed by the USPTO.

 

The PatentPatehway.com system has four simple steps:
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1. Do the novelty and inventor questionnaire on this website – No fee. No commitment. AND WE DO NOT KEEP ANY OF YOUR DATA.

 

2. Do the online prior art patent search on this website to make sure it is worth filing a patent application. We show you exactly how. Again, no fee. No commitment. AND AGAIN, WE DO NOT KEEP ANY OF YOUR DATA.

 

3. Register with PatentPathway.com. Select either OPTION 1 “No Review, File-it-Yourself $490”, or OPTION 2 “Attorney Review & Filing $990”. Download the guide materials (the tutorial) and use them to draft your patent application. We teach you everything you need to know. You must follow the guide for the system to work! If you follow our instructions, it will be easy to create a superb patent application, ready to file.
4. File the application. Simply follow our step-by-step instructions. We support you every step of the way. Or if have chosen the Attorney Review Option, we draft the filing documents and file your application for you. All you do is sign a single document (the “declaration”) which we send it to you, and we will do the rest. Remember, you always get 100 days of unlimited email support from registered US patent attorneys/agents.

 

If you have any questions – just email us at admin@patentpathway.com
The below fees for OPTION 1 and OPTION 2 are fixed, one-time fees. PatentPathway.com will never ask you for more. There is no continuing obligation and no repeat billing, ever.

 

OPTION 1: No Review, File-it-Yourself $490 – We provide you with all the instructions, real-life examples, and clear step-by-step guidance showing you exactly how to draft and file your patent application. We show you what to do afterwards, and how to correspond with the US Patent Office from the beginning of the process to the end. You get 100 days of unlimited support by email from USPTO registered patent attorneys/agents.

 

OPTION 2: Attorney Review & Filing $990 – As with the first option, we carefully guide you through the process of drafting your own patent application. Once the application is drafted, our attorneys will review it for you and make suggestions about any edits necessary to getting a filing date, or we may also make some changes for you. If you have any questions, just email us, we will be here to help. We will then draft all the necessary USPTO filing documents for you, including some you need to sign; and then we file the application for you online. We then hand the filed application back over to you so you can continue the post-filing process following our step-by-step guidance all the way through to patent allowance. No hassle, no tricky forms to navigate, and no obscure legal language. You get 100 days of unlimited support by email from USPTO registered patent attorneys/agents.

 

PATENT OFFICE FILING FEES: There are never any additional costs from PatentPathway.com. But when you file, you will have to pay the usual US Patent Office (USPTO) filing fees of about $455 for a nonprovisional or $75 provisional application Click HERE for current fees. These fees assume you qualify for USPTO Micro Entity fees, which you should do if you have a gross income of less than about $206,109/year (click HERE for more info).

 

If you do not qualify for Micro Entity Fees, then the USPTO filing fees are $830 (nonprovisional) and $150 (provisional) for a Small Entity. Large Entity fees are for companies with more than 500 employees, and are twice that for Small Entity. See FAQ for more.

 

If you are filing a Design application, then the filing fees will be about $255 for Micro Entity and $510 for a Small Entity and $1020 for a Large Entity.

 

FEES PAYABLE AFTER FILING THE APPLICATION: There will be fees after filing the application, but if your application is allowable, and if you respond promptly to all USPTO correspondence, and do not have to pay for any extensions of time (and there is no reason why you should), then they should be fairly low. Answering correspondence (an “Office Action”) during patent examination should cost nothing. If you have forgotten to file a paper such as a declaration etc, there may be a fee of about $35 (Micro entity). Once your patent application is allowed, you will have to pay the Issue Fee of $300 (Micro entity). The patent remains enforceable for 20 years from the nonprovisional filing date. To maintain your patent over the years, and keep it enforceable, you will have to pay maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years after the patent issues. BUT with luck, your patent will have been licensed to an industry partner or manufacturer, and they will be paying all the maintenance fees, and paying you very satisfactory royalties! For more information about patent maintenance, click HERE.

 

PATENT OFFICE FEES FOR FILING AN INTERNATIONAL (PCT) APPLICATION:
Very few clients will be using our system for filing a PCT application. Anyone filing a PCT application will likely be a more experienced user, and we shall assume that you understand the PCT process or at least have access to a patent attorney with such knowledge. For more information about the PCT, click HERE. If you do use PatentPathway.com to file a PCT application, then our fees will be exactly the same as for any US application, but the Patent Office fees will be different. You will have to calculate these fees at the time of filing. See the current PCT fees HERE. The Transmittal + Filing + Search + Examination fees will be about $2107 for Micro Entity and about $2986 for Small Entity. These fees change from time to time, and we are simply providing ball-park estimates. So you must not rely on them – you need to check with the PCT office at the USPTO at the time of filing. Their number is (571) 272-4300.

 

What are the typical costs if I use the traditional route – hiring a patent attorney? Costs will be from about $5000-$15,000, depending on the complexity of the invention and on your attorney.
Support is always provided by US Patent Office professionals (Patent attorneys and patent agents). We do NOT outsource to poorly qualified staff in other countries. You always get help from true experts.
Whether you chose the self-filing option or the attorney review & filing option, you will get 100 days of unlimited support, starting on the date of registration. Submit any questions you like by email or from our website, we will be very happy to help. Please review all the materials before you ask a question, as they have been very carefully written, and almost all the answers to your questions will be found in those materials. A word search will generally bring you to the answer in seconds. Questions that have answers found in the materials will be replied to with a suggestion to review the materials. 100 days should be more than enough for you to draft and file your application. Just email us, any time.
Note that PatentPathway is not a law firm, and you will not be hiring an attorney or working directly with a law firm. There is no attorney-client relationship, actual or implied. We cannot provide any legal advice.
BUT….If you decide that you simply want to have a law firm do all the work, in the traditional way, then feel free to contact our full-service partner patent law firm, Bell & Associates HERE. They are experts with lots of experience helping large and small clients. Whatever your needs with patents of trademarks, they can help you.

Anyone can file a US patent application. You do NOT have to be a US citizen or resident. If you are a US citizen or resident, there is no barrier to filing an application.

But if you are a a resident of some countries, such as India, Italy, and China (see the list below), then before you file a US application, you need to obtain a Foreign Filing License (FFL) from you own country’s patent office before you file a US patent application. Many countries (such as Japan and ireland) do not have any FFL requirement. For the countries that do require a FFL, the process is generally quite simple – See below. If in any doubt you must ask the Patent Office in your country. Here is an interesting posting on the subject: https://patentlyo.com/patent/2014/10/considerations-international-inventions.html

Foreign Filing License (FFL)

If you live in a country that requires a foreign filing license before you file outside that country (for example in the US), then you will either need to get a Foreign Filing License, or file a patent application in your own country before you file in the US. In many cases getting a Foreign Filing License is simply a formality, and in some countries, the invention has to be submitted to the national patent office to make sure it is not relevant to national security or military applications. If in any doubt you must ask the Patent Office in your country. They will be familiar with the current rules and will be happy to help. Below is a list of requirements for most countries. However, before you file, you absolutely MUST check with your country’s patent office before you file. If you are required to get a FFL but do not get one, your patent may be invalidated.

Argentina: No FFL is required

Australia: No FFL is required

Austria: No FFL is required

Belarus: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Belgium: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Brazil: No FFL is required

Canada: A foreign filing license is required only for Canadian government employees

China (The Peoples Republic of China): see below

Czech Republic: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Cyprus: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Denmark: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Finland: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

France: A foreign filing license is required if inventor is a French national or the company’s principle place of business is France

Germany: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications. If the patent application does not contain a state secret, the applicant is free to file outside the Germany without undergoing a secrecy review.

Greece: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Hong Kong: No FFL is required

Hungary: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

India: FFL required or file national application first

Indonesia: No FFL is required

Ireland: No FFL is required

Israel: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Italy: FFL required or file national application first

Japan: No FFL is required

Kazakhstan: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Korea: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Liechtenstein: No FFL is required

Luxembourg: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Malaysia: FFL required or file national application first

Mexico: No FFL is required

Monaco: No FFL is required

New Zealand: No FFL is required

Netherlands: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Philippines: No FFL is required

Poland: No FFL is required

Portugal: No FFL is required

Russia: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

Singapore: FFL required or file national application first

Slovak Republic: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

South Africa: No FFL is required

Spain: FFL required or file national application first

Sri Lanka: No FFL is required

Sweden: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications

Switzerland: No FFL is required

Taiwan: No FFL is required

Thailand: No FFL is required

Venezuela: No FFL is required

Vietnam: You must file in your country before you file anywhere else

United Kingdom: A FFL is required only if invention has military/security applications. A UK resident seeking to file its patent application abroad is required to first obtain a foreign filing permit from the UK Intellectual Property Office only if the application contains information which relates to military technology or national security. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manual-of-patent-practice-mopp/section-23-restrictions-on-applications-abroad-by-united-kingdom-residents

United States: A foreign filing license is required. It is nearly always granted automatically and will be shown on your filing receipt. If the application has military/security applications, it may be reviewed and the FFL delayed or refused.

Foreign Filing License requirements in China

More patent applications originate from China than any other country except the US, so we have created a detailed section just for applicants from the Peoples Republic of China. A foreign filing license is required if you make the invention in China, but you wish to file in a foreign patent office. You can either file first in China, after which you will receive a FFL in about 30 days; or if you wish to file outside China before (or instead of) filing in China, then you need to submit the application to the PRC Patent Office (CNIPA) for “confidentiality examination”. After receiving the request for confidentiality examination, CNIPA will send a notification to the applicant if the invention may have State security implications. Otherwise, if the applicant doesn’t receive the notification of confidentiality examination within four months from the date of submitting the request, it is deemed that the applicant can file applications in foreign countries. The average pendency for confidentiality examination of international patent applications is 2 to 3 weeks (far shorter than the allowed timeline of 4 and 6 months). The system is quite simple.

On the CNIPA webpage, Look for “Confidentiality Examination: http://english.cnipa.gov.cn/art/2013/7/17/art_1349_81674.html

The CNIPA (https://www.cnipa.gov.cn/) are very helpful. You can contact the CNIPA:

By letter: CNIPA, No. 6, Xitucheng Lu, Jimenqiao Haidian District, Beijing City 100088

By telephone: CNIPA Customer Service Center: 010-62085588/5599, 010-62356655; CNIPA Number for Patent Application: 010-62085500.

Foreign Filing License requirements in China

More patent applications originate from China than any other country, and in 2020 China became the biggest source of international (PCT) patent applications in the world, pushing the United States out of the top spot it has held since the global system was set up more than 40 years ago. So we have created a detailed section just for the incredibly inventive and hard-working applicants from the Peoples Republic of China. Many countries (including the USA and China) require you to obtain a Foreign Filing License (FFL) before you file in another country. If you are not in China when you make the invention, then no Foreign Filing License is required. But a Foreign Filing License is required if you make the invention while you are living in China, but you want to file a patent application in another country.

There are TWO WAYS you can file a patent application in the US: (1) You can either file first in China, after which you will receive a FFL in about 30 days – then you can use Patent Pathway to file in the USA. Or (2) If you want to file outside China before (or instead of) filing in China, then you need to submit the application to the PRC Patent Office (CNIPA) for “confidentiality examination”. The average pendency for confidentiality examination is only 2 to 3 weeks (far shorter than the allowed timeline of 4 and 6 months). The system is efficient and quite simple. You can always call the CNIPA to check on the status. Below we set out the process for various patent filing options.

Filing directly in a foreign country before filing in China. In this case you need to request Confidentiality Examination before you file. To request Confidential Examination you must do the following. (1) Make sure you have your final and complete patent application specification in Chinese and in the other language you intend to file in. (2) Contact the CNIPA and get a form called “Request Form for Confidential Examination of the Application for Patent in Foreign Countries and Specification for Technical Solution”. (3) Fill out the form and send it to the CNIPA with the two copies of the specification.

Filing in China first. You can file in China first and then file in foreign countries. To make things efficient, the applicant should submit the Request for Confidentiality examination at the same time or after filing the Chinese application. You should get your Confidential Examination notice within about 30 days. If you do not, you should contact the CNIPA and request the status of the Confidential Examination. You can also request confidentiality examination after filing Chinese patent application. You just need to submit the Request Form for Confidentiality Examination. In this case you do not need to submit a new specification in Chinese or in the other language. Note that the application to be filed in foreign countries shall be “consistent in content” with that filed in China.

Filing through PCT. Filing a PCT application to CNIPA will be regarded as filing the request for confidentiality examination for patent to be filed abroad. As there is no need to file the request for confidentiality examination separately. Normally, when CNIPA issues the “PCT International Application Number and International Application Date Notification”, it means that confidentiality examination has been completed and the technologies of this patent application do not have to be kept as confidential.

Procedure of confidentiality examination at the CNIPA

1. Confidentiality examination for applications going abroad directly, before filing in China.

(i) First, you need to submit your request for Confidentiality Examination to the CNIPA. Where the format of requesting documents does not conform to the rules, the examiner will notify the applicant that the request is deemed to have been withdrawn. Applicant should file a new request for confidentiality examination that conforms to the rules.

(ii) Where there is clearly no need for the invention to be kept secret, the examiner shall inform applicant that they are allowed to file for patent in foreign countries, and the examiner will forward the decision to the Committee of Science and Technology. After receiving affirmative notification, applicant could take the notification to the CNIPA and ask for the issuance of priority certificate.

(iii) Where the examiner finds that the invention may need to be kept as secret, examiner shall notify applicant that the invention needs further confidentiality examination, and shall not be filed abroad for the moment. Examiner informs the applicant of the above review outcome through notification of decision of confidentiality examination for patents going abroad. If applicant does not receive such notification within 4 months from the date of filing the confidentiality examination, then the applicant is allowed to file patent applications in foreign countries.

(iv) Where applicant has been told to postpone the application in foreign countries for the moment, the examiner shall perform further confidentiality examination, and when necessary, may invite the assistance of technical experts in relevant fields.

(v) The examiner shall issue the decision of confidentiality examination based on the result of review and shall inform the applicant of whether they are allowed to file in foreign countries.

(vi) If the applicant has not received a negative decision on confidentiality examination within 6 months since the date of filing confidentiality examination, the applicant can then file in foreign countries.

2. Confidentiality Examination for application to be filed abroad after filing application in China first

(i) Where applicant intends to file a patent application in foreign countries after filing in the PRC Patent Office (CNIPA), the applicant shall submit a request for confidentiality examination for patents going abroad at the same time as filing patent application (quicker), or after filing the application. The content of the application to be filed abroad shall be same with that filed in China. The procedure of confidentiality examination at the CNIPA is the same as in (1) above.

3. Confidentiality review procedure for international (PCT) applications

Where applicant files international (PCT) patent application in the CNIPA, it shall be deemed that the applicant has automatically requested confidentiality review for patents going abroad simultaneously. For PCT applications that need not to be kept as secret, examiner shall follow normal procedure as above. For a PCT application that needs to be kept as secret, examiner shall issue the Notification of Not Forwarding Record Copy and Search Copy for National Security Reasons within 3 months from the filing date, and notify the applicant and the International Bureau that the international application will not be handled as international application, and terminate the procedure of the international phase. If you do not get a negative notification within 4 months, then it is most likely that you can file abroad, but you should still contact the CNIPA to confirm.

Contacting the CNIPA

For more information: on the CNIPA webpage, Look for “Confidentiality Examination: http://english.cnipa.gov.cn/art/2013/7/17/art_1349_81674.html

The CNIPA (https://www.cnipa.gov.cn/) are very helpful. You can contact the CNIPA:

By letter: CNIPA, No. 6, Xitucheng Lu, Jimenqiao Haidian District, Beijing City 100088

By telephone: CNIPA Customer Service Center: 010-62085588/5599, 010-62356655; CNIPA Number for Patent Application: 010-62085500.

Email us at admin@patentpathway.com if you have any questions. Our attorneys have excellent relationships with well-established PRC law firms, so if you need any help directly from Chinese patent attorneys, just let us know. We will be happy to put you in touch with our colleagues.

No. There is no need to have built or used the invention before filing. Having it described in a document is all you need. The key requirement is that it should be “constructively reduced to practice”, which means you must have it clearly and fully described using whatever description and drawings are needed for someone to understand what it is, how it looks and fits together, and how it works.

The best answer is that you should only publically disclose your invention after you have filed your patent application. This ensures the greatest degree of safety. Public disclosure includes any form of publication, such as posting on the internet in any form, publishing it in a journal or magazine, or even speaking about it at a conference.
Now, in the US, you actually get a 1-year grace period from your first public disclosure. So you can file your application up to 1-year from the date of a public disclosure. Great! But some other countries have shorter grace periods, or none at all. And this can cause a big problem! Take this situation for example: You have a great invention, a hot-dog holder so you can eat a hot-dog without your fingers but without the bun – less carbs! You publish it on your food blog! Everyone loves it, and so you file a patent application in the US. But now a huge German company wants to license it for millions of dollars. The trouble is that in Germany, the grace period is not the same, so your publication will create great difficulty in getting a patent in Germany. If it cannot be patented in Germany, then you cannot make money from it in Germany. Bad news! So the best thing is to keep it under wraps till you have filed in the US. Once you have filed in the US, you have 12 months to file anywhere else in the world and claim the same priority date.
A provisional patent application is a ‘place holder’ that lasts for a year and does not get examined. It gives you an official filing date, which is important, but to have the application examined you MUST file a nonprovisional application within 1 year. A provisional patent application costs less to file initially. But if you intend to get a patent, and your invention is ready, then there is very little point in filing a provisional, because you just have to pay more fees in 12 months’ time to file your nonprovisional. Sometimes a provisional application is filed because you want to act very quickly to secure your filing date, with the intention of improving or testing the invention, and then filing a nonprovisional application within a year. TO BE CLEAR – YOU MOST LIKELY DO NOT NEED TO FILE A PROVISIONAL APPLICATION, AND WE SEE NO REASON WHY YOU SHOULD.
A nonprovisional patent application is a ‘real’ application, not a place-holder. It gets examined by the USPTO, and it can mature into an issued patent. You can use PatentPathway.com to file either a provisional or a non-provisional application.
For more information see the USPTO web site, HERE.
Nearly everyone who uses the PatentPathway.com system will be filing the standard type of utility application in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This is called a NONPROVISIONAL UTILITY APPLICATION.
You can use PatentPathway.com to file US utility applications (both nonprovisional and provisional – the difference is explained in the FAQ section) and design applications, and also international (PCT) applications.
Utility patents are for new devices, machines, processes, and methods for doing or making things. For example a utility application could be for an LCD screen, a hole puncher, a paper-clip, a battery, a car engine part, a method for making a plastic form, a method for performing a surgical operation etc.
Design patents protect the “Ornamental Design” of an object. They do not protect any functional elements. A Design patent only protects the way something looks, for example the Tesla car emblem, the NBC rainbow peacock design or the Chanel double C design on handbags. A design patent is not appropriate for inventions that involve devices, machines or methods that do things or perform actions.
A US patent allows you to prevent others from making, using, selling or offering for sale, the patented invention within the USA. It does not give you rights outside the USA. You will most likely be using PatentPathway.com to file a US nonprovisional patent application.
A PCT application is a single umbrella application that holds your rights for a certain time (up to 30 months from first filing) to file in most countries of the World, during which time the application is examined. Once examined, it can then be used for filing in individual countries. Just about every country is available. PCT applications have significantly higher filing fees than US applications (see “HOW MUCH WILL IT COST” on the FAQ page) and once you get to the national filing stage, you have to pay a whole new set of fees. There is not getting away from the fact that it is an expensive process, but the PCT is certainly the best way to go if you seriously intend to file in many countries.
The USPTO website provides excellent information about the different types of patent applications – provisional, nonprovisional, design and PCT – click HERE.
If you want more general information about patent applications, have a look at the USPTO website: HERE.
Generally, the term of a patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or adjustments may be available. For more information click HERE and search for “patent term”.
Yes. Very importantly, and unlike many “patent assistance companies”, you can file both provisional and nonprovisional patent applications. Remember, only non-provisional applications get examined and become patents. You can never get an issued patent unless you file a non-provisional application. A provisional is only a place-holder for a year. Companies that only file provisional applications should be avoided (see “Scams!”). We will not help you to draft a “quick-and-dirty” provisional, which is more trouble than it is worth. PatentPathway.com will allow you to file a high quality, full patent application, with a description and claims that meet the technical requirements of the USPTO. If you want more general information about patent applications, have a look at the USPTO website: https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/inventors-entrepreneurs-resources
Before you start or spend a single penny, we will walk you through how to do a prior art search, how to check the novelty of your invention, and how to complete the patentability questionnaire. See the Homa page of our wb site: “Get ready, Get set…Wait!”. It’s simple, and requires no fee or commitment (and we never have access to your search), but it is a vital step to make sure that your invention is worth patenting. You should spend as much tims as you can doing this preliminary research. We want you to work with us and file a patent, but we do not want you to file a patent application if a little research will show you it is not worth patenting because it has already been done! Unfortunately not every patent firm feels the same way!
You may want to ask: “Can you tell me if it is patentable?” We can’t tell you if it’s patentable or guarantee that a patent will be granted and we will not attempt to assess whether your invention meets the standards of patentability. Only the Patent Office can tell you that. But you will have done you prior art search and your patentability analysis, so you should have a good idea of just how patentable the invention is likely to be. If your invention is novel, non-obvious, and useful, then it should be granted as a patent. You will be doing a prior art search and patentability questionnaire on our website, so you should not be filing an application which is obviously not patentable. Like everything else, the more effort you put into this the more reliable the results will be. And we will do our very best to make sure that your application is well written and complies with all the formal rules required for filing an application.
The USPTO provides some very useful information: https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-process-overview#step1
PatentPathway.com does not stop at “patent pending” and the materials we provide will show you in detail exactly what to expect after filing your patent application and how to deal with correspondence with the Patent Office to get your application successfully allowed. We show what dates to docket, and even how to file an International (PCT) application to pursue patent rights outside the US.
No, we will not be drafting your patent application for you, but with our step-by-step guidance and help, you will do a great job. In fact, as the inventor, who knows this invention inside and out, you really are the best person to do the job! And with the Attorney Review Option, we will review your application and claims, draft all the required USPTO filing documents, and file the application for you online. And of course you get 100 days of online support from USPTO registered agents and attorneys.
No! Absolutely not! We never ask for any equity interest. But some other companies do take part ownership of your invention. We have seen up to 97% – No kidding! There are many companies out there that will either take your IP or simply charge you a lot of money to file a useless provisional application. Please be careful of these scams. At PatentPathway, we are real patent attorneys. Our aim is to guide you, and help you to secure to effective, valuable intellectual property. Honesty and quality guide everything we do. We want you to succeed.
Yes. If you pay for OPTION 2 (Attorney Review and File Option) we will file the application for you with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But if you use OPTION 1 (No Review Option) you will be filing it yourself. It’s not difficult, and of course we give you step-by-step instructions with screenshots so that you can do this yourself. We believe that if you can file your own taxes, you can certainly file your own patent! You have to be able to read and follow instructions, and carefully fill out forms, but if you can do this, and are willing to put in the work, this is a very good option, and you will be able to draft and file a very high quality patent application.

Almost all companies, especially tech-heavy ones, will require you to sign an IP assignment agreement as part of your employment contract. This will automatically assign to the company any IP you invent using company resources or on company time, especially of it relates to the company’s technical field. However if you invent something on your own time, not using company resources, and it is entirely different from what the company does, then it should not be covered by the employment contract, and you should retain full rights. You absolutely must read your contract before you decide to file a patent application and you may want to clear it with the company patent attorney first. If the contract claims ALL inventions you create, it may well not be enforceable, but only an attorney (not one who works for the company!) can tell you for sure.

If you work for a University, you will have signed an employment contract which assignes all inventions to the University. Again, if you invent something on your own time, not using university resources, and it is entirely different from what the university does, then it should not be covered by the employment contract, and you should retain full rights. With many US universities (such as UC) patent rights are usually equally split three-ways, with 1/3rd each to the university, the department and the inventors. But check this with the university tech-transfer office.

If you are an undergraduate student, and you are not employed by the university, then you are almost certainly not under an assignment agreement, and anything you invent is your own. If you are a research student or post-doc etc, especially if you are paid, you may have had to sign a contract and be under an obligation to assign, just like other university employees. But again, if you invent something on your own time, not related to the university research, then it probably belongs to you. See the UCSF policy for a typical assignment policy https://policies.ucsf.edu/policy/100-25

PatentPathway.com is not a law firm. We will not act as your legal representatives or patent attorneys and will not represent you before the USPTO. We can’t give you any legal advice.
BUT….If you decide that you simply want to have a law firm do all the work, in the traditional way, then feel free to contact our full-service partner patent law firm, Bell & Associates HERE. They are experts with lots of experience helping large and small clients. Whatever your needs with patents of trademarks, they can help you.
The materials include a ‘tutorial’ that must be taken as part of the PatentPathway.com system. The tutorial is essential. The system will not work without the tutorial. The tutorial is a unique and expertly crafted step-by-step course that guides you through the process of drafting and filing a complete patent application. We use simple, step-by-step instructions, real-life examples and screen-shots from the Patent Office web site. All key questions will be answered in the tutorial – just do a word search. The materials are clear and methodical, but they are also detailed, and require concentration and study. You must be prepared to put in the time required. The tutorial outline is as follows:
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER TWO: ALL ABOUT PATENTS
CHAPTER THREE: WRITING YOUR INVENTION DISCLOSURE
CHAPTER FOUR: DOING A SIMPLE PRIOR ART SEARCH
CHAPTER FIVE: DESIGNING AROUND THE PRIOR ART YOU FOUND
CHAPTER SIX: HOW TO DRAFT A UTILITY PATENT APPLICATION
CHAPTER SEVEN: HOW TO DRAFT PATENT CLAIMS
CHAPTER EIGHT: EXAMPLES OF CLAIMS
CHAPTER NINE: DESIGN PATENT APPLICATIONS
CHAPTER TEN: FORMS YOU NEED TO FILE YOUR PATENT APPLICATION
CHAPTER ELEVEN: FILING YOUR UTILITY PATENT APPLICATION
CHAPTER TWELVE: AFTER FILING – PATENT
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: WHEN YOUR PATENT IS ALLOWED
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: DEADLINES THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: FILING AN INTERNATIONAL (PCT) APPLICATION
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: AFTER FILING THE PCT APPLICATION
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: RESOURCES AND USEFUL LINKS
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: APPENDIX – LINKS TO DOCUMENTS
As you know, you need to be willing to put some serious work into this process. The tutorial should take you between 10 and 30 hours to review. Most inventors put hundreds or even thousands of hours into their invention, so we believe that the tutorial is a relatively small investment of time for a very good pay-off. This is why the PatentPathway.com system works. Remember that you get support from US Patent Office licensed agents and attorneys, and if you select the Attorney Review Option we will review your application and claims, draft all the required USPTO filing documents and file the application for you online.
What are the pros and cons of hiring a patent lawyer vs. doing it myself?
Hiring a lawyer
Surely the pro’s of paying a lawyer are pretty obvious. You do not have to do anything – they do all the work for you!… BUT DO THEY? Well, NO, they do not. The patent attorney does not have direct acces to your brain. You need to communicate all your ideas to the attorney. Without describing in very thoroughly, IN WRITING, it is impossible for the attorney to draft a good application. So the fact is, you STILL have to write a complete description of the invention. Of course, that is not the end of drafting your application, and you have to work on it to carefully craft a patent application. The patent attorney should know how to do this better than you do. But that is what PatentPathway is for – we teach you the skills required to take your description, and craft a patent application.
The con’s of hiring a lawyer are surely obvious too – it’s just the COST, right? Well, not exactly, no. Of course it is true that you will be paying about $10,000+ to get your application drafted and filed; and we are not saying that a patent attorney will not do a great job, but there are other issues that can conflict with an attorney drafting the best possible application. First, an attorney is required to log a certain number of billable hours to get paid. So an attorney will need to work as efficiently and quickly as possible. They cannot simply take as much time as they would like. But you can. Secondly, “independent inventors” are not big clients, so your work is not a top priority and it will usually be given to one of the junior associates in the firm. These young attorneys often know very little, and can be more of a liability than an asset to a law firm (believe us – we know – we were once them!). So you may not be getting a top attorney to draft your application.
Doing it msyelf
The major con is that you must be willing to spend a lot of hours reviweing the PatentPathway tutorial. There is just no other way to do it. You have to read it and you have to be dilligent. Drafting a good application is not simple and not quick. It requires a lot of research and thought and careful writing. But we will walk you through EVERYTHING you need to know. And if you have questions, experts are available for 100 days at no extra cost.
The major pro’s of doing it yourself are really important.
– You control contents of patent application.
– You keep total control of costs – no unexpected billing.
– You understand the invention and do not have to explain it to the attorney.
– You can take all the time you want, and unlike an attorney who must constantly be thinking about billable hours, you can just take as much time as you like. Hundreds of hours if you want!
But should I just hire a cheap patent attorney/agent? The answer is that there is no such thing as a professionally-drafted patent application which is both INEXPENSIVE and good. It’s just not possible. Patent attorneys and agents cost a lot, and to draft a good patent application, even a simple one, they have to spend many, many hours. It just cannot be done quickly and competently. The people at PatentPathway.com have been doing this for many years and we know what we are talking about! If an agent or attorney claims to be able to create and file a patent application for less than a few thousand dollars, then they are either cutting corners or just don’t know what they are doing. And always be beware of anyone who says they will file a quick provisional application for you – it is generally a scam. The only person who really has the knowledge and the time to devote to drafting a really good patent application without spending a great deal of money is YOU. You are the person who has been developing and thinking about your invention for a long time, and you have done many hours of research and you do not need it explained to you. If you are willing to spend the time using the PatentPathway.com materials, and then spend as much time as is needed to carefully draft your patent application following our instructions, then you should be able to produce an excellent application. Probably as good as many attorneys. So if you have the time and discipline to do this, then PatentPathway.com is the very best way to go. If you do not, then you should seriously consider hiring a full-service patent attorney. The USPTO has a register of active patent practitioners on their website.
Beware of scams! There are many unscrupulous people and companies out there who will take your money and give you nothing in return but a so-called “patent application” which is worthless. There are lots of so-called “Invention Promotion” or “Patent Filing” companies, also referred to as “patent filing mills”, who use impressive national advertising and have very slick web sites, but they are a total waste of time and money. They are scams!
These companies will generally ask you to fill out an online questionnaire, and promise to file a patent application. They will then simply reformat the information you give them and submit is as a provisional patent application that is almost totally worthless. And they will charge you hundreds or thousands of dollars! Some will even take part ownership of your invention (we have seen up to 97% – no kidding!) There is no guidance, no friendly patent attorney to help you, and no opportunity to make your application better. So beware! If it seems too good to be true, it is! If you are in any doubt, just contact us or another patent attorney or call the USPTO. They know all about these unscrupulous companies and will help you avoid them.
There are other systems that are not actually scams, but are just not very good. Generally they are automated or semi-automated systems that allow you to enter the text of your patent application, and then they automatically fill in the forms for filing a provisional application. As you can imagine, the value of such a process is generally pretty low, and we recommend avoiding them.
See the USPTO notice “PROTECT YOURSELE AGAINST INVENTION PROMOTION SCAMS”: HERE.
Hello! We are the creators of PatentPathway.com and we thought it would be nice to write a personal note to all the users of this online patent filing system. We’re very proud of what we’ve produced and we sincerely hope you find it useful. We actually think you’ll find the process great fun! We’re a small group of very experienced US patent attorneys who love what we do. We initially came up with the idea for PatentPathway.com after seeing inventors with good ideas turned away from our law firms because they couldn’t afford the law firm fees. We all immediately realized that it was a great idea whose time had come! The patent system that Thomas Jefferson helped create was not meant to turn into the complex, burdensome and expensive system we have now, filled with legal terms and understood only by patent attorneys. There are lots of resources available, but they’re generally intimidatingly complex, inadequate, out of date, or sometimes just fraudulent! We had already written a very popular online training course for professional patent paralegals and attorneys, so we knew that the complex patent process could be broken down into clear step-by-step instructions, accessible to everyone. So here it is at last. A simple, clear, comprehensive and up-to-date system for drafting, filing and obtaining your own patent. We really hope you enjoy it, and wish you great success!
OUR PHILOSOPHY
At PatentPathway.com we believe that innovation, invention and hard work will continue to be the foundation of global economic prosperity. The successors of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Bill Gates are out there waiting to be discovered. But unfortunately the patent system has become far too complex, expensive and intimidating for the average inventor, and patent attorneys are very expensive. Until now there has been no simple, clear and easy-to-use online system that teaches an inventor to use and understand the US patent process. The fact is that that the process of filing a patent can be explained in simple terms, without using a lot of legal language, with step-by-step instructions making it easy to draft and file a worthwhile US or international patent application. This is exactly why PatentPathway.com was established. You do not need technical or legal expertise to understand it. If you have a truly new and useful idea, and are willing to put in some hard work, you should be able to get a patent without spending a fortune on attorney’s fees.
Here are some useful links. PatentPathway.com does not create or own the content and does not take responsibility for the accuracy of any information found therein. So you should use this information at your own risk. However any information from the USPTO website can usually be relied upon to be authoritative and accurate.
For useful information from the US Patent Office about patents and the patent system, see: https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/using-legal-services/pro-se-assistance-program