An Entrepreneur’s Checklist – Filing a Patent


Here is a very down and dirty outline of some important steps you need to take in order to file your patent. Use this as a guide to help you navigate the complex patent filing system. Keep in mind, it is recommended to have legal assistance through this very pivotal step in bringing your idea to life.

1. Choose the type of patent that you want to file

First you have to decide which patent you want to file. There are utility, plant, design or industrial design. See the differences here.


2. Conduct a patent search

You will need to ensure that no one else has already filed the same patent as you. You can search your invention for free on this patent search engine available on

3. Draw a sketch of your patent


All you need is a sketch of your patent, there are many tools in which to do this. Depending on the complexity of the design, you may choose to draw it your self, use a computer aided program or seek professional help. Explore the different options to see which is right for you.


4. Be able to describe your invention

You will need to describe your invention thoroughly and accurately.


5. Start a provisional patent application

The provisional application is a popular start because it is  a lot simpler (and cheaper) than the full patent application (the non-provisional).  This application also satisfies the need to secure your filing date. Especially since the law became first-to-file compared to first-to-invent and it has become a race to file first. If you are intimidated by the many steps to filing a patent,  makes the patent filing process easy.


File a provisional patent application

6. File a full patent application

first to file patent

Once you have all the bells and whistles for your invention, you can choose to eventually file the full patent application (non-provisional). Keep in mind, you must file the non-provisional patent application within a year to maintain the filing date from your provisional application.


7. Hire legal assistance

Legal assistance is a great idea especially because a patent can end up being a large investment. A lawyer can help you process paper work smoothly and help you to enforce your patent rights – this  can pay off in spades in the long run!


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