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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hello, and first off, on behalf of the entire team here at Bold Patents, I, J.D. Houvener, the CEO and managing partner, would like to congratulate you for taking the next step in protecting and bringing to market your visionary idea. Secondly, I want to explain our process and give you an idea as to what this investment’s upfront costs are going to be. Although I highly recommend that you watch this entire video in full, feel free to click the timestamps below in the YouTube video description if you want to skip ahead later.

Here at Bold Patents, we believe in complete transparency and want you to have the necessary knowledge to make the most educated business decision for you. Now, before I dive into the details, I do want to bring up three points that we believe are important for you to be aware of.

Number one, this is an investment, not a cost. Unlike paying for a new car, a patent is something that holds tremendous value that often increases in value over time. For 20 years, you gain exclusive rights to that invention. You can license it, sell it, and use it as a competitive edge over your competitors and more. For many of our inventors, their technology is the cornerstone of what is or will be their future business. In this way, it’s not a bet on a single gadget or device like the stock market; it’s a bet on your business and a bet on yourself.

Number two, competitive advantage. It’s true, the hallmark reason why people seek patents is so they can be the only player in the market; it’s a monopoly, no doubt. There’s real power in that. However, I noticed that inventors gained an additional competitive advantage while pursuing patent protection that’s just as powerful – the educational experience. Inventors undergo learning the patent process boosts their knowledge and understanding of the competition instead of their particular solution and helps them be better inventors. So, as you go down this road, don’t forget that you’re actually going to be educating yourself a lot and putting yourself in situations you wouldn’t have thought possible. You’re expanding your network and meeting other business owners and investors, inspirational individuals to help you move to that next level. In addition, you know you’re gonna be getting these skills, knowledge, and protecting and bringing to market your visionary idea. You have no clue yet what exciting experience and knowledge you’re going to be able to gain; your life will never be the same again. We’re beyond thrilled to be the start of this journey with you.

Number three, your invention may be taken. Alright, now I hate to make this a Debbie Downer scenario here, but I think it’s important to note that your invention might have already been discovered. As I will share with you in a second, this is a huge reason why we have everyone start off with a patentability search for all their new inventions. We don’t want to waste your time and money trying to get the patent-pending status when it’s obvious after our in-depth search that will most likely not pass. But don’t worry; in this case, you will still gain legal advice that will help you move forward with a trade secret patent protection some of their mechanisms.

Alright, so now that I covered the basics, let’s dive into the Bold process and the typical costs associated with obtaining a patent. A small legal note before I start: the patent process is very complex, and without doing a proper search, it’s nearly impossible to give you an accurate answer. However, we do understand it’s important for you to be fully aware of what you are embarking on, and so I’ll do my very best to explain this as in-depth as possible.

Step 1: Patent Eligibility Opinion – Typical cost is $249. The patent process typically starts with an understanding of whether the subject-matter of your invention is eligible for patenting. Most of you, if you’re watching this video right now, you’ve likely already had your patent eligibility opinions, so this isn’t brand new to you. There are four major patent-eligible subject matters: apparatuses, assemblies, methods, and compositions of matter. If your invention falls outside of these areas, additional analysis may be necessary to determine whether your subject matter will be eligible for moving forward in the process. After you’ve determined if your idea is patent-eligible, we move to the next step.

Step 2: Patentability Search – Typical costs between $2,500 and $5,000, takes us between 4 and 6 weeks. A patent search is where the patent attorney team searches various databases across the world to determine whether the subject-matter of your invention has been published or isn’t known in the public (prior art). The patent attorney will start with a very high-level, broad search and then dive into deep, specific areas to confirm the novelty of your invention. So, what makes an idea patentable? Well, according to the patent statute, any person who invents or discovers a new and useful process, machine, manufacturer, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, can obtain a patent. The invention must also be novel, it must be new, and it must be non-obvious. Even if it is new, it can’t be an obvious iteration or version of something already out there on the market. Last but not least, it must have utility. Depending on how your patent eligibility assessment went, your attorney may give you a search of the complexity level of low, medium, or high. The complexity is determined based on the estimated amount of work and the time it will take for the attorney to conduct the research based on the experience with other clients. So, a low-complexity invention (e.g., a screwdriver) costs $2,500, medium complexity (e.g., a solar panel) costs $3,750, and high complexity (e.g., software blockchain) costs $5,000. The patent search takes us between 4 and 6 weeks. The patent attorney will conduct the full search and put a legal opinion down in a full report. We will also sit down and have a full detailed conversation to help you understand the risk basis for moving forward. The patent search is a pretty complicated and rigorous process that we truly don’t recommend you do fully on your own. In fact, we won’t work with you unless you have started with a patent search; it’s really the foundation for your invention. The reason for this is we don’t want to waste the time and money chasing an idea that’s already been taken, and as you will soon learn, patents take two to four years on average to be granted. The true value you’re getting here in the patentability search is not the search itself, but it’s the legal opinion that comes with it. It’s the trusted advice from legal counsel that’s been there and done that. Our attention to patent searches is paramount at our firm; it’s our way of ensuring proper risk management for clients moving forward, helping them save time and money.

Step 3: Provisional Patent Applications – Costs between $5,000 and $10,000, takes between 6 to 8 weeks to get done. Assuming your patent search came in positive, the attorney’s recommendation will usually be to file a provisional patent application. I will be discussing the other cases in a second. A quick note: the investment you made in the patent search gets credited toward your provisional patent application cost. Everything is a rolling investment when you work with us. This means if you pay $2,500 for your search and your provisional patent application is $5,000, you only pay the difference and owe an additional $2,500 for your provisional patent application.

What is a provisional patent application, you may ask? I will think of a provisional as your informal application. It gives you that patent pending status that everyone’s looking for, which is basically the ability to then free yourself to tell the world about your invention, test the market, talk to customers. In fact, on September 16, 2011, Barack Obama switched the U.S. patent system and signed the American Invents Act, changing it from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system. That law went into effect on March 16, 2013, making it vital for you to file your provisional patent as soon as you’re ready to take that next step and lock yourself in as the first inventor.

Your provisional patent may or may not have the same complexity as the search; the complexity for the application will depend on the actual invention itself and how long it’s going to take us to articulate the invention in the specification. For your reference, the provisional patent application will take us between six to eight weeks, and the cost is as follows: low complexity invention – $5,000, medium complexity – $7,500, and high complexity – $10,000. Remember, your patent search payment is applied to these, so subtract that number from the total.

Now, before we move to the third and final step to being a patent granted, I want to share some other possible scenarios that could come out after your patent search. In some cases, we’re going to recommend that you file a design patent, which protects the look and feel and the ornamentation of the product. In fact, we may recommend that you don’t file a utility patent. This is because perhaps there’s already prior art that covers that same functionality but you have found a new way to show what the way it looks in the ornamentation. Design patent applications cost between $3,500 and $7,500 depending on complexity and usually take us between six to eight weeks to get those done.

Your attorney might also recommend a non-provisional patent application. In some cases, we do recommend that you skip the provisional step and go straight to the final application for some technology areas that are fast-moving; you need to get your rights as quickly as possible. Also, for those inventors that have already been through the patent process before a prototype, they’re invention, know exactly what they’re invention is gonna look like; we do sometimes recommend filing directly with a non-provisional and skipping that provisional phase. We will also want to talk with you about the international protection opportunity through the Patent Cooperation Treaty or other vehicles that may be right for you.

Step four, a non-provisional patent costs between $10,000 and $20,000 and takes between 8 to 12 weeks to accomplish. Before we dive into discussing the investment associated with the non-provisional, I want to highlight a major point that inventors don’t usually take into consideration. The fact that you don’t need to file a non-provisional patent application immediately after the provisional. Well, if you want to get to patent-granted status, you will eventually need to, but in some cases, you may decide you don’t want to.

After you file your provisional patent application, you’ll have what’s called a patent-pending status, and you’ll have a full year to then file or decide not to file. The non-provisional is your official application; it’s also called a non-provisional that’s what will go before the USPTO and get examined. So we recommend at this point to start to promote your product as soon as the provisional is filed, to raise money, look to license your invention, and get customer feedback. It’s time to start living to your purpose and bringing to market your invention and seeing how the market responds really to make our process as risk-averse as possible, ensuring you’re investing your money where you need to since you’re protected by the patent-pending status of the provisional. It’s your time to tell the world about your invention before you file the big kahuna, the non-provisional. It’s important to get that customer’s feedback to confirm and validate your invention. If during this period you have deemed your product be successful, let’s move forward. If we will reach out and help you finish your filing a non-provisional patent, the patent granted, we will do so at about the nine or ten-month mark to make sure we have enough time to draft and submit it before that year is up.

Once again, don’t forget we’re going to be crediting you the investment on the work you did on the search and the provisional toward the non-provisional. Again, the price is gonna range between $10,000 to $20,000 for the non-provisional. Low-complexity at $10,000, medium complexity at $15,000, high complexity at $20,000. So let’s do some simple math here for what the investment will be for the entire process. If your provisional and search from about a year ago was a total of $5,000 and your non-provisional application is gonna be $10,000, you will only owe an additional $5,000. I gave you this number to help you understand the total investment up until this point. Now please don’t think that far out necessarily; we’re at the very beginning stages, although for some of you, that may seem like a big number. During that year period when you have a patent application status, you may come to realize the investment is well worth the reward and won’t even flinch at the investing more money at the patent-granted status. Enough to sound cliche, but if you don’t try, you won’t know, and your future self will probably regret it. We truly do live only once.

Alright, the final step, patent office actions. Now, in many cases, after you file your patent application, the USPTO will come back with changes you need to make. These are called patent office actions and as part of the process called patent prosecution because really it’s like a mini court case were you and your patent attorney are up against the examiner in the USPTO and trying to get your patent through the Patent Office. Patent applications get assigned it to USPTO patent examiner’s then they review research and try to find prior art just like we did in our search that would prove your invention to be not patentable if the examiners find anything wrong and they almost always do with the application form at the content or they find out some reason to reject it, they will do so.

Don’t be discouraged; this is actually a good thing. It means that we’re doing our job and advocating for you, pushing the limits, and getting you the most patent rights possible. A little back and forth is actually healthy; however, you should know that this advocacy is not free. We typically charge between $1,000 and $5,000 per office action depending on how difficult the rejection is and how aggressively we are to respond. Good things are worth fighting for, right, and your invention is one of them. Know that there is further investment needed after the non-provisional filing, but know that it’s customizable, and you can adjust how we respond and how much you invest in that aggressive position. If it’s gonna be more legal review, more legal summary, it’s gonna mean a little bit more investment.

Now in summary, thanks, everyone, for watching this video. I hope this has properly educated you to make the best business decision possible for yourself. I hope you can take what we have done, and I want to tell you that I do take pride in telling you this straightforward, transparent, risk-averse process. Your idea is not stolen; your investment is hedged; you’ll get maximum protection for your invention other firms won’t give you this insight. Here at Bold, we are more than just a patent law firm; we help you become a successful business owner in the most risk-averse way possible. The total estimated cost an investment is fifteen thousand to forty thousand dollars in some cases. Once again, please keep these things in mind before making your decision; this is an investment, not a cost. The experience alone is worth it. Don’t worry about all these steps right now; let’s take it one bold step at a time together.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/