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Step 1: PATENT SEARCH - look for similar patents or prior art inventions.

Step 2: PATENTABILITY OPINION - evaluate scope of potential patent in light of the existing art found by patent search and evaluate the desire to obtain patent in light of scope of patentability.

Step 3: DECISION TO FILE - what type -provisional, non provisional, utility, plant, or design.

Step 4: DRAFT SPECIFICATION - describe details of your invention's construction and use.

Step 5: PREPARE DRAWINGS– detailed drawings of process or product.

Step 6: DRAFT CLAIMS - these will determine the bounds of your patent. They are used to determine if applicant can secure the patent for his invention and also used to determine if others are infringing.

Step 7: PREPARE APPLICATION DOCUMENTS - Information Disclosure Statement, Application Data Sheet, assignments, claims for priority, foreign filings, PCT application, non-publication requests, petitions, transmittal letter, fee transmittal, check/credit card payment, receipt postcard, declarations, small entity status claim, petition to make special, joint inventors, power of attorney, declarations, etc.

Step 8: FILE APPLICATION - paper or electronically including any required deposits.

Step 9: DEFEND AGAINST OFFICE ACTIONS - defend application from objections and rejections by amending specification, drawings and claims, through presentation of legal arguments, and or filing of a divisional/continuation application .

Step 10: IF PATENT ALLOWED - file final amendments and payment of issue fee, publication fee and any related fees.

Step 11: IF PATENT NOT ALLOWED - abandon, appeal, or file CPA.

Step 12: PATENT ISSUED

Step 13: PAYMENT OF MAINTENANCE FEES - at 3.5, 7.5 & 11.5 years.

Step 14: PATENT EXPIRES - 20 years from date of filing for Utility Patent
14 years from date of issue for Design Patent.