How can I protect my invention?

Inventors in New York and all over the nation are responsible for some of the most amazing innovations the world has ever seen. If you're developing an exciting and useful new idea, you are no doubt concerned about preventing your invention from being capitalized on by others. In this case, having protections in place early on is essential for keeping your ideas out of the wrong hands.

As illustrated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, properly protecting your invention requires a comprehensive approach to ensure it remains secure. Before actually filing a patent, it's recommended that you file a provisional application as a preliminary first step. This document affords certain protections before a patent is put in place, such as listing "patent-pending" on materials related to your invention, as well as guaranteeing a date to officially file your patent. Provisional patent applications typically last for one year but can be extended under certain circumstances.

You should also search existing patents to see if your invention has already been protected. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is tasked with dispersing patents, and you can consult their archives for any information on patents filed that may be similar to yours. Along with this research, it's also a good idea to look into whether you are considered a micro-entity, which would offer cost savings when it comes to patent application fees.

Regarding expenses, patent holders are obligated to remit fees throughout the duration of their protection. Fees will be due three times while the application is current, and it's important that patent holders remit fees as required to prevent their protection from expiring.

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