Patent Office staff offer a set of steps for an inventor to work through. First to be sure that a patent is the right kind of protection and then on how to proceed with a patent application:
1. Determine the type of Intellectual Property protection that you need. Patent, trademark, copyright?
3. Ask: What kind of patent do you need? Utility, design, plant?
4. Get ready to apply. Legal advice is advised, there will be questions to consider, and you need money.
5. Prepare and submit your initial application. This is a formal process, with exact requirements.
6. Work with your examiner. Expect negotiation.
7. Receive your approval. Good news!
8. Maintain your patent. Watch out for infringement, fees due, and for licensing opportunities.
The USPTO offers Patent Center, a "tool for electronic filing and management of patent applications." The "Training Mode" feature lets applicants practice using electronic filing before they do the real thing.
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