Patent information : costs and procedure
There are various aspects of patent information you'll need if your application is to be successful. One of the major ones is the cost. It's impossible to say how much exactly the procedure will be because it depends on what kind of patent you are applying for (utility, plant or design in the US ) and how complicated the invention is. If you hire a lawyer or agent, as is generally wise, by the time your patent is granted you can expect to have paid for the following: a patent search (optional but often very useful); the interview and application draft; filing fees and any extra petition fees (if you want your application speeded up: since most people do make a special petition you are at a disadvantage if you don't); review of the examiner's report and a reply to it; publication fees and more. Thereafter are the maintenance fees for the patent. What's more, you are not even guaranteed to get it in the first place. However, you can make it as likely as possible that you will. The most expensive thing will be the application draft, but the more care you take over this, the more persuasive it will be to the examiner. It's important to make every effort to get it right the first time because if you have to appeal it could double your costs (at least).
Another important piece of patent information is how the application procedure works. It's very detailed but the broad steps are: assessing whether a patent is suitable to you; conducting a patent search if you so choose to check whether your idea has already been patented; preparing the application; filing it; examination and any tweaks or disputes that may come with it; and finally, with luck, getting the patent granted and putting it on your product. Your patent agent or lawyer will help you with the intricacies of the process. The patent office itself is highly organized, if overworked, agency which has to deal with a vista of technical fields and tasks. It doesn't only examine patent applications. It also keeps a library of the ones which have been granted plus other documentation, attempts to resolve disputes between patent applicants and is the accrediting body for patent lawyers and agents. It's a busy place. So again, to maximize your chances of getting the patent it's important to get yourself noticed in a good way: be prompt in replying to correspondence and make every effort to maintain personal contact with the examiner - you are entitled to discuss your application with them face to face during the examination process. For more patent information try the US patent office site (www.uspto.gov) as a starting point