My biggest tip - an experienced attorney can save you lots of money and time while helping you to add value to your invention. Aside from hiring an attorney, here are some other tips:
- Obtaining some basic understanding of patents is a good idea prior to starting your application. Princeton offers a very good primer on patents that could help you expand you knowledge of what’s involved in protecting your ideas. The USPTO also offers a wealth of information on what is required, how it should be presented, what the specification anddrawings should look like, and a host of other important material.
- Patent searches are essential. Start here with Google Patent search. You’ll also want to search the USPTO database. Conclude your search with a simple worldwide search here.
- You should write a list of unique benefits and features that distinguish the novelty of your idea. Take about a week to develop a thorough profile while spending some time developing your list on a daily basis. This will help you immensely when you start the actual application.
- Don’t shy away from provisional patent applications! Filing a provisional patent application is certainly easier, cheaper and faster than filing a utility patent application. It’s a route that allows you to to buy some time (a year), to develop and market your idea. If it gains traction during the year, then you can convert it into a utility patent; if not, then you can simply let it lapse knowing that you made the right decision to not invest the thousands of extra dollars and years it would’ve taken to obtain a utility patent. If you convert your provisional to a utility application before the end of one year, you can claim priority to your previous provisional application/s.
- Regarding the actual application - keep it simple, but focused. Select the top features that distinguish your invention and provide a brief, but detailed description about each characteristic.