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Getting a Patent First Step

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The first decision to make when you want to obtain a patent for a new invention is to select a “good attorney.” These advertisements on TV about just making a call if you have a new invention are a little misleading.  They make it seem that you make a call and everything is taken care of quickly.  The average time your patent will sit in the Patent Office before even being looked at is about 2- 2 1/2 years. For my first ” invention” I called a Patent Attorney in town and he did a Patent Search and told me that there was already a Patent on what I wanted to “Invent.”   My second attempt at getting a Patent was for  a Fetal Scalp pH Probe.  This is a means of checking the well being of a baby while Mom is in labor by scratching the baby’s head and getting a drop of blood to test a pH on.   I chose a large Patent Attorney group in town. They changed Attorneys on me 3 times and not one of the 3 really understood my invention.  The biggest mistake these attorneys made was not doing a thorough Patent Search.  This is the most important step because you will spend a lot of money arguing with the Patent Office when a Patent for your invention may already exist!  Just because your invention has never been produced does not mean it does not have a Patent already.  My first Patent Search was for a Bumper Sticker you could text to.  A Patent for this already exists but has never been produced in large quantities because the LCD screen to make this would cost over $ 2000.00.  A huge pet peeve of mine is that you do not have to prove your invention works to get a patent.  There are millions of Patents out there that have never been produced on a large scale because the prototypes have not worked or are too expensive to manufacture.  Because of this you will spend a lot of money arguing with the Patent Office about prior Patents that they will say are too similar to your Patent Application even though the prior Patent does not work and was never manufactured.  This is what happened with the Fetal Scalp pH Probe Patent Application.  I finally gave up after years of fighting and thousands of dollars even though the prior Patent was never produced because the prototype didn’t work.  You are probably thinking at this point that you don’t even want to try.  But I learned each time I hit a road block what not to do the next try.  For my present Patent Application the Menstrual Shield, I obtained a wonderful Patent Attorney that is in Solo Practice in Knoxville, TN.  Mr. Michael McKee.  He did several extensive Patent Searches before he even agreed to take my case.  The Menstrual Shield is a tampon device.  We currently have several components allowed and are working on getting everything allowed.  This is how it works with a Patent.  After about 2 years you get a notice that your Patent Pending has been published.  That means that the Patent Office is going to start work on it.  Then you get a notice that they are allowing maybe one or two components of your Patent.  So then you start bantering back and forth with legal jargon trying to prove that your design is different than the previous patents they are comparing it to.