If you are the inventor of a product, the first thing you need to do before sharing it with the world is file for a patent. A patent will protect you in the event that someone else tries to make and sell your product without your permission. However, getting a patent can be a difficult process. Here are three things you need to know about getting a patent.

1. Getting your patent application approved - or denied - can take a long time.

Have you ever looked at the package for a product and saw the words "patent pending" on it? That means the inventor of the product has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but it hasn't yet been approved.

You may think that it would make more sense to wait and sell your product after your patent is approved, but that can take at least a year. However, with the USPTO backlogged with patent applications, it usually takes two to three years to have your application reviewed and approved. Instead of waiting on the USPTO to approve their patent, the inventor can sell their product and simply mark it as "patent pending" so others know a patent application has been filed.

2. You will need to submit a lot of paperwork with your patent application.

Considering the length of time it takes to get a patent application approved, it is in your best interest to include everything the USPTO needs for review with your application. This means you need to provide detailed diagrams and instructions on how your product works, how it is built, the amount of impact you foresee it having on the environment, etc. The idea here is that the USPTO official needs to have a very clear understanding of your invention before they will consider approving your patent request.

Failing to include all of the paperwork applicable to your invention can lead to having your patent application denied. Then, you will need to go through the patent application process all over again after you get all of the information and diagrams that the USPTO should have had with your first application.

3. Your U.S. patent is only good in the U.S.

A common misconception with patents is that U.S. patent protection extends to every other country. This is not the case. A patent granted in the U.S. only protects your ownership of the product in the U.S. If you want to protect your ownership of the product worldwide, you must file patent applications in each country.

As you can imagine, getting your ownership of a product protected around the world can be a difficult process - mostly because every country has their own requirements for patent approval. You will benefit significantly from retaining the services of an attorney with experience in filing international patent applications. They can handle all of the legal aspects of filing your patent applications around the world so you can focus on your next big idea. Contact a law office like Hamilton IP Law PC to learn more.