Filing of a patent application is the first step in the very complex process of seeking patent protection.
patent offers protection to new and useful processes, methods, machines,
compositions of matter, or improvements thereof. Utility patent
applications must meet requirements for novelty, utility and
non-obviousness. U.S. utility patent applications will be prosecuted by a
patent examiner from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
provisional patent application establishes a priority date with the
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, but it does not elevate to the level
of prosecution with a patent examiner. To take full advantage of the
priority date established in a provisional patent application, a utility
application must be filed within one year of filing a provisional
patent is granted if the invention is novel, non-obvious, and useful.
Novel, of course, means something entirely new. Useful means that there
is beneficial and practical operability of the invention.
Non-obviousness is achieved if someone who is skilled in the art would
not have thought of the idea easily and is usually demonstrated by
showing that the invention yields unexpected results.
Patent Committee reviews and considers invention disclosures from the
ECU community, and makes recommendations to OTT on the filing of patent
applications. The Committee also makes recommendations on the
expenditure of funds related to patent and license activity.
Patent Committee consists of a multidisciplinary assembly of ECU
faculty and staff charged with reviewing inventions that have passed
OTT’s initial review. In addition to extensive training about the patent
process, many committee members also have prior knowledge about patents
and business activities related to patents. The criteria used by the
Committee for review of new inventions is similar to those required by
the USPTO (novelty, utility, non-obviousness) as well as market
potential and maturity of the invention.
inventor usually offers technical expertise to ECU’s patent attorney in
the drafting and prosecution of a patent application. The inventor may
also be asked to attend conferences and other meetings for the purpose
of engaging industry experts about the subject matter of the invention.
Once licensed to an industry partner or licensee, the inventor may offer
further technical advice in the development of a commercial product.
Yes, several databases are now available to facilitate searches of existing patents. Among available databases are the USPTO,
European Patent Office, Google Patents, and many, many more. OTT offers
tutorials to individuals interested in learning how to do patent
to file and prosecute a patent application is very expensive. Filing and
prosecuting a patent application in the U.S. can cost as much as
$30,000 or more. International patent filings are even more expensive as
they cover a larger number of countries and often involve foreign
attorneys and translators. Additionally, there are annual maintenance
fees to keep patents alive.
ECU pays for all costs associated with the preparation, prosecution,
and maintenance of the patent. ECU seeks reimbursement of patent costs
through licensing with industry partners.
The time it takes to obtain a patent generally takes 2-5 years from the time a patent application is first filed.
and plant patents expire 20 years from the date of filing the original
application, unless the term is extended by the USPTO for excessive
prosecution delays. Design patents have a 14 year term.