1. Q. What do the terms "patent pending" and "patent applied for mean?
A. They are used by a manufacturer or seller of an article to inform
the public that an application for patent on that article is on file in
the Patent and Trademark Office. The law imposes a fine on those who use
these terms falsely to deceive the public.
2. Q. Is there any danger that the Patent and Trademark Office will give
others information contained in my application while it is pending?
A. No. All patent applications are maintained in the strictest
secrecy until the patent is issued. After the patent is issued,
however, the Office file containing the application and all
correspondence leading up to issuance of the patent is made available in
the Files Information Room for inspection by anyone, and copies of these
files may be purchased from the Office.
3. Q. May I write to the Patent and Trademark Office directly about my
application after it is filed?
A. The Office will answer an applicant's inquiries as to the status
of the application, and inform you whether your application has been
rejected, allowed, or is awaiting action. However, if you have a patent
attorney or agent the Office will not correspond with both you and the
attorney concerning the merits of your application. All comments
concerning your application should be forwarded through your attorney or
4. Q. Is it necessary to go to the Patent and Trademark Office to
transact business concerning patent matters?
A. No; most business with the Office is conducted by correspondence.
Interviews regarding pending applications can be arranged with examiners
if necessary, however, and are often helpful.
5. Q. If two or more persons work together to make an invention, to whom
will the patent be granted?
A. If each had a share in the ideas forming the invention, they are
joint inventors and a patent will be issued to them jointly on the basis
of a proper patent application. If on the other hand one of these
persons has provided all of the ideas of the invention, and the other
has only followed instructions in making it, the person who contributed
the ideas is the sole inventor and the patent application and patent
shall be in his name alone.
6. Q. If one person furnishes all of the ideas to make an invention and
another employs him or furnished the money for building and testing the
invention, should the patent application be filed by them jointly?
A. No. The application must be signed by the true inventor, and filed
in the Patent and Trademark Office, in the inventor's name. This is the
person who furnishes the ideas, not the employer or the person who
furnishes the money.
7. Q. Does the Patent and Trademark Office control the fees charged by
patent attorneys and agents for their services?
A. No. This is a matter between you and your patent attorney or
agent in which the Office takes no part. To avoid misunderstanding you
may wish to ask for estimate charges for: (a) the search (b) preparation
of the patent application, (c) Patent and Trademark prosecution.
8. Q. Will the Patent and Trademark Office help me to select a patent
attorney or agent to make my patent search or to prepare and prosecute
my patent application?
A. No. The Office cannot make this choice for you. However, your
own friends or general attorney may help you in making a selection from
among those listed as registered practitioners on the Office roster.
Also, some bar associations operate lawyer referral services that
maintain lists of patent lawyers available to accept new clients.
9. Q. Will the Patent and Trademark Office advise me as to whether a
certain patent promotion organization is reliable and trustworthy?
A. No. The Office has no control over such organizations and does
not supply information about them. It is advisable, however, to check
on the reputation of invention promotion firms before making any
commitments. It is suggested that you obtain this information by
inquiring of the Better Business Bureau of the city in which the
organization is located, or of the bureau of commerce and industry or
bureau of consumer affairs of the state in which the organization has
its place of business. You may also undertake to make sure that you are
dealing with reliable people by asking your own patent attorney or agent
or by inquiry of others who may know them.
10.Q. Are there any organizations in my area which can tell me how and
where I may be able to obtain assistance in developing and marketing my
A. Yes. In your own or neighboring communities you may inquire of
such organizations as chambers of commerce, and banks. Many communities
have locally financed industrial development organizations which can
help you locate manufacturers and individuals who might be interested in
promoting your idea.
11.Q. Are there any state government agencies that can help me in
developing marketing of my invention?
A. Yes. In nearly all states there are state planning and
development agencies or departments of commerce and industry which seek
new product and new process ideas to assist manufacturers and
communities in the state. If you do not know the names or addresses of
you state organizations you can obtain this information by writing to
the governor of your state.
12.Q. Can the Patent and Trademark Office assist me in the developing
and marketing of my patent?
A. The Office cannot act or advise concerning the business
transactions or arrangements that are involved in the development and
marketing of an invention. However, the Office will publish, at the
request of a patent owner, a notice in the Official Gazette that the
patent is available for licensing or sale. The fee for this is $20.
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