Inventors file patents for many reasons. Some, believe their invention will make a lasting impact on the world, and thus, want control over how the creation is reproduced. Others want to ensure that they are able to reap the financial incentives that holding a patent on an invention can reap, but most of the time, an inventor wants to make sure that their idea is not stolen or created at the same time as a competitor.
Regardless of your reasons for filing, the patent filing and approval process is complicated, expensive, time consuming, and almost always requires the consultation of a patent lawyer to be completed properly, but the rewards associated with filing your patent application in a timely manner can be substantial while waiting to file can be a mistake with long-term consequences.
3 Reasons for Filing Your Patent Application as Soon as Possible
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there were 325,979 patents granted in 2015 alone, and these patents cover a host of different creations such as machines, pharmaceuticals, and new software technology. With so many patents being granted each year, it is easy to see why you should always file your application as soon as possible, especially when you take the first-to-file rule into consideration.
1. If You Don’t File First, Your Patent Could be Granted to Another Inventor
Prior to March 16, 2013, the patent system was very different than the system we are currently operating under today due to one very specific rule, the first-to-file rule. In the past, the USPTO granted a patent to the applicant that first invented the patentable creation, regardless of whether the inventor filed their application first or not. However, a provision within the America Invents Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011, changed our country’s patent system from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system. The provision of the America Invents Act that made this change took effect on March 16, 2013.
The first-file-system generally grants patents to the first inventor to file their application with a few exceptions. As such, the system has essentially forced you to file your application as soon as possible or risk the application being denied due to another person filing their patent for the same or similar invention first.
2. Fast Track Applications can Make Waiting a Costly Mistake
The America Invents Act also created the fast track option for patents. When this option is utilized by an inventor, the full patent process can be completed within 12 months. This means that if you wait to file your application, your competitors could secure their entitlement to a patent under the first-to-file rule and have the patent granted within a year or less by electing to use the fast track option. These two rules combined give inventors a large incentive to file their application as soon as possible.
3. Filing Your Application Correctly Takes Time
As you have probably noticed, you need to file your patent application quickly, but you also need to file it correctly. Filing a patent application incorrectly can be just as damaging as waiting to file your application. This is why so many inventors employ the services of a patent attorney, because researching existing patents, preparing all of the necessary documentation for your application, and actually filing your application can be a time consuming complex task that requires the expertise of a legal professional. As such, you need to make sure that you file you file your patent application quickly and correctly with the help of a patent lawyer.