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What Are The Best Ways To Get a Patent For My Business?

Securing a patent is a crucial step for businesses looking to protect their inventions and gain a competitive edge. Patents grant exclusive rights to inventors, preventing others from making, using, or selling the patented invention without permission. 

The patenting process can be complex, but understanding the best approaches can streamline your business planning. Here are the key steps and strategies to effectively secure a patent for your organization.

What Types of Patents Are There?

It’s important to understand the types of patents available before you begin an application. In the US, there are three main types:

  1. Utility Patents: These are the most common and cover new and useful inventions or discoveries. Examples include machinery, pharmaceuticals and software processes.
  2. Design Patents: These protect new, original, and ornamental designs for manufactured items. Think of the unique shape of a smartphone or a piece of furniture.
  3. Plant Patents: Granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces a new and distinct plant variety.

How Does The Process Work For Getting a Patent?

One of the first steps in the patenting process is to conduct a comprehensive patent search. This helps ensure that your invention is novel and not already patented. 

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides a searchable database, but consider hiring a professional patent attorney or search firm to perform an in-depth analysis. 

According to the USPTO, approximately 45% of patent applications are initially rejected due to prior art, underscoring the importance of a thorough search.

Prepare Your Patent Application

Drafting a patent application is a detailed and precise task. It involves several critical components:

  1. Specification: A detailed description of the invention, including how it works and its benefits.
  2. Claims: These define the scope of the patent protection and are arguably the most critical part of the application.
  3. Drawings: Visual representations of the invention, which are often required to illustrate how it works.

Given the complexity, many businesses opt to work with a patent attorney to ensure the application is comprehensive and meets all legal requirements. Statistics show that applications filed with the assistance of a patent attorney have a higher success rate, with about 76% of such applications being granted, compared to about 50% for those filed by applicants themselves.

File with the USPTO

Once your application is ready, it’s time to file it with the USPTO. You can choose between a provisional and a non-provisional patent application:

  • Provisional Patent Application: This offers a simpler and less expensive way to establish an early filing date. It lasts for 12 months, during which you can further develop your invention or seek funding.
  • Non-Provisional Patent Application: This is the formal application and begins the examination process. It must include all required documents and fees.

The USPTO recommends electronic filing via its EFS-Web system, which provides immediate confirmation of receipt.

The Examination Process

After filing, the USPTO assigns a patent examiner to review your application. This process can take several years, with the average pendency period being around 24 months. 

During this time, the examiner may issue office actions, which are formal documents outlining any objections or rejections. Responding to these promptly and thoroughly is crucial. 

Maintaining Your Patent

Once granted, a patent isn’t a one-time event. To keep your patent in force, you’ll need to pay maintenance fees at 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after issuance. 

Failure to pay these fees can result in your patent expiring prematurely. The USPTO states that around 54% of patents lapse due to non-payment of maintenance fees, highlighting the importance of staying on top of these obligations.

Creating a Strategy With Your Patent

A granted patent opens up various strategic opportunities for your business. You can license your patent to other companies, creating a revenue stream. Alternatively, patents can be used as collateral for securing loans or attracting investors. 

According to a study by the Brookings Institution, firms with patents are 35% more likely to secure venture capital funding than those without.


Securing a patent for your business involves multiple steps, from understanding the types of patents to navigating the examination process. By following the best practices detailed in this article, you can protect your inventions and grow your business.

Remember, the patenting process can be long and intricate, but the protection and potential advantages it offers make it a worthwhile investment for many businesses.

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