I want to help you to come to understand that in order to file ANY patent that you will be well advised to become profoundly aware how the system works. BTW: We are a "First to File" country now, meaning the FIRST to file IP gets the rights, should they be granted. You can ALSO get Patent Pending for a mere $65... Read on...
You NEED to know this is rather simple! If you invented it the filing of a provisional application for patent is MUCH easier... You also need to know that you are NOT required to use an attorney and you do NOT need a prototype. What you DO need to do is to adequately explain how to "build" your invention to one skilled in the art. In exchange for that, if you are granted a patent, you have the "right" to sue others for infringement!
I have a bunch of patents on crazy geeky engineering things and a bunch of provisionals and I help folks get their own. I am always surprised at how complex folks make this process seem...
Did you know you can get Patent Pending from the USPTO for $65?
Know why the USPTO, part of the Federal Government allows YOU to start a patent for only $65?
They want YOU to be a zillionaire so they can tax you and YOU stimulate the economy AND they have bragging rights for your art and our Countries health. They ALSO know that MOST useful inventions come from folks like YOU, sitting in that chair right now, come up with novel inventions and they KNOW you are scared and think it is too costly.
Their solution? Tell you it oncly costs $65.. But they "forgot" how to tell you HOW to do that. AND they DO NOT require you use a lawyer, EVER, for ANYTHING. The REASON you want a patent lawyer is they are HIGHLY SKILLED in the art of drafting claims and claims are NOT required in a provisional...
When you file a non-provisional you NEED NEED NEED a very good lawyer who is highly skilled in YOUR particular art. They are rare... And hard to find.. And sometimes VERY costly. When you draft a proper provisional you can reduce the cost as you have done much of the work..
Why would you need a Provisional Application for Patent fast?
Some companies will NOT entertain looking at an "invention" if it does not have some sort of IP in place. The REASON is they do not want to expose themselves to potential lawsuits brought on by folks claiming they copied your stuff! You can ALSO have folks sign an NDA as well for further protection.
When you file a Provisional you have the very same "Patent Pending" you have on a non-provisional. The DIFFERENCE is you only paid $65 to get this AND you MUST, within 365 days file a follow on non-provisional that claims preference to your provisional...
FREQUENTLY a provisional covers MORE than one invention! And this is OK because if you "hook up" with folks with sufficient funding your association with them will likely result in multiple patents that THEY pay for and you have the benefit of royalties or whatever arrangement you create.
NOTE.. Lawyers hate provisionals because there is no "money" in it for them because there are no "Office Actions" on a provisional. As such they will insist you go straight to a non-provisional which, on a new invention, is foolish especially if the time to draft one is long enough for some other smart clown to file a provisional tomorrow on YOUR invention and OWN it because the USA is a First to File country!
And... NO... you do NOT need a model or a prototype, that ended in the 1800's!
If you have a VIABLE invention then it is a good idea to protect it.
Do you know about the Provisional Application for Patent? It only costs $65 and was designed by Congress to give individual inventors a chance at bringing their inventive ideas to market easily. It is SUPER EASY to do..
There are LOTS of ways to move forward with your invention. I would caution you away from paying ANYONE ANYTHING until you COMPLETELY understand what and when they will give you what you want.
DO NOT pay anyone $5,000 to start your invention... DOI NOT PAY invention companies until you COMPLETELY understand exactly what they will do for you. I have talked to way too many folks who have spent from $1800 to $5000 to get nothing.
Not to worry.. there are ways to get what you want ant YOU can do it yourself, for the most part, and it is fairly easy to do everything. Just know the USPTO if a branch of the Federal Government and the Federal government wants YOU to be a millionaire so you can pay taxes. Therefore, the Federal Government, via the USPTO, makes it EASY to file a Provisional Application for Patent. Extremely easy.
Here is my site about the Provisional Application for Patent. If you are interested you can watch these Videos that show how it all works..
Here is where you can get the FREE NDA you should use.. Use this with EVERYONE! Scroll to the bottom.
If this is your FIRST patent and you are not filing with a company name and you, or ANY of your Co-Inventors, did not make more than $150,000 LAST year AND the rights in the application been NOT been promised or licensed to a non-micro-entity then you likely qualify for the 75% reduction in USPTO fees with the Micro-Entity-Status at the Patent Office.
See this USPTO FAQ page.
Here is an overview on how to do a Patent Search: