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Patents & Trademarks

patent information for researcher and entrepreneurs, including free and PSU-only sources

The Patent Lifecycle

The patent lifecycle as shown in smart art that says, "learn about patents, prepare patent application, file application and pay fees, examination process, and maintain patent until term expires."

Learn more about the USPTO Patent Process Overview by exploring these 8 steps.

  1. Determine the type of intellectual property you need.  Is it a patent, a trademark, both, or something different?
  2. Determine if your invention is patentable.  Figure out (a) can this type of idea be patented and (b) has this idea already been described in public by someone else.  You need to do a patent search and other types of searches.
  3. Determine what kind of patent you need.  Is it a useful invention ("utility patent"), an ornamental design ("design patent"), or a type of asexually reproduced plant ("plant patent").
  4. Get ready to apply.  Look at the application options provided by the USPTO and determine which ones are right for you.  You may also wish to consult a patent lawyer.
  5. Submit your application.  Submit all of your fees and documents using the USPTO's electronic filing system.  Please note that it may be some time before your application is examined.
  6. Work with your examiner.  If your patent examiner doesn't think your invention is patentable based on the initial application, you can have a conversation with them to amend your submission or to make your case.
  7. Receive your approval.  You get a patent!
  8. Maintain your patent.  You are required to pay maintenance fees to keep your patent active.  These fees are due before the 4th, 8th, and 12th anniversaries of the issue date. 

The Trademark Lifecycle

The Trademark lifecycle as explained in smartart that says, "application, examination, publicaiton, and regristration."

Learn more about the USPTO Trademark Process Overview by exploring these 6 steps.

1. Is a trademark application right for you?

2. Get ready to apply

3. Prepare and submit your application

4. Work with the assigned USPTO examining attorney

5. Receive approval/denial of your application

6. Maintain your registration

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