You Filed a Utility Patent Application Yourself (Pro Se Inventor) – Now What?

So you prepared your own utility patent application to save money. While taking the time and effort to do so is commendable, you really need to have your utility patent application reviewed by an experienced patent attorney (particularly the claims) when you receive a First Office Action from the U.S. Patent Office to make sure your application properly covers your invention. You will also need his/her professional help in responding to the Patent Office.

It takes about 2-3 years for a patent attorney to be trained (under the daily supervision of an experienced patent attorney) to properly prepare a utility patent application and prosecute it through the Patent Office to a patent. An inventor such as yourself cannot possibly hope to do it properly first time! The money will be well spent.

Keep in mind three principles…

1. the breadth of coverage of an issued patent is what counts… not the fact of having a patent. This is so you maximize the number of devices that violate your patent (get your rightful patent coverage of your invention).

2. The enforceability of an issued patent also counts so you can enforce those rights.

3. Keep your invention CONFIDENTIAL (you can use a Confidentiality Agreement if properly used which is a separate subject) until you consult with a patent attorney about which countries around the world in which you want to get patent protection. It is expensive to get patents and you might say to yourself “I only want/can afford patent protection in my home country”… but keep in mind that some international company might come to you later wanting to patent it in many countries!

Preserve your rights to get patents in foreign countries… consult a patent attorney! Note that keeping your invention confidential includes NOT PUTTING YOUR INVENTION ON THE INTERNET.

Also, note that you CAN MARKET your invention before your patent issues… just be sure of the ramifications of your marketing activities ahead of time by consulting a patent attorney as I suggested above!

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