Resources and Guidance


Polaris IP is Colorado’s premier provider of intellectual property services, specializing in strategic harvesting of patentable ideas with a focus on developing focused patent portfolios for small to medium size companies, as well as providing a low cost, high quality patent preparation alternative for sole inventors and enterprise companies.
The steps outlined below are intended to teach, and we have included it for your enlightenment.  You may wish to forego reading this and CONTACT US directly for your free 1/2 hour consultation.
The process outlined below  will provide insight in shepherding your innovation from idea, to patent application preparation, through the patent prosecution after filing the application, and maintenance of the patent once it has granted.  It is intended to provide insight and guidance regarding your decision to seek intellectual property protection.  The initial patent application preparation process is merely the beginning of a 2-4 year journey, hopefully culminating in the grant of  the patent.   The below guide was borrowed from the United States Patent and Trademark website ( and  presents a rich source of resources available at that website for inventors at all levels of experience.   While not a required read prior to contacting Polaris IP, browsing some of these resources and becoming familiar with the basic requirements for patents and trademarks will make the Polaris IP process much more understandable.

Step 1

Determine the type of Intellectual Property protection that you need

To protect your invention, you may need a patent, trademark, copyright, marketing plan, trade secrets, or some combination of these. Before you begin preparing a patent application, find out if you really need a patent or some other form of Intellectual Property protection.
Inventors Assistance Center
The Inventors Assistance Center provides patent information and services to the public. It is staffed by experienced patent professionals who can answer general questions concerning patent examining policy and procedure.
Patent and Trademark Resource Centers
A nationwide network of public, state, and academic libraries
Public Search Facility
Located in Alexandria, VA provides the public access to patent and trademark information in a variety of formats. Trained staff are available to assist public users

Step 2

Determine if your invention is patentable

To determine if you can patent your invention, you will need to know the answers to a few simple questions. Go to our Patent FAQ page and enter these questions to learn more about the Patent Process:
  • Who can apply for a patent?
  • What can and cannot be patented?
  • How do I know if my invention is patentable?
  • How long does patent protection last?
  • How much does it cost to get a patent?
Search to see if your invention has already been publicly disclosed
  • You cannot get a patent if your invention has already been publicly disclosed. Therefore, a search of all previous public disclosures should be conducted. A search of foreign patents and printed publications should also be conducted.
If you are not experienced at performing patent searches, a registered attorney or agent is recommended.
It is possible, though difficult, for you to conduct your own search:

Step 3

What kind of patent do you need?

There are three types of patents – Utility, Design, and Plant.
Utility Patent
Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof. By far, most patent applications filed at the USPTO are utility applications.
Design Patent
Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
Plant Patent
Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

Step 4

Get ready to apply

Once you have determined the type of Patent that you need, you can consider your application strategy and whether to use professional legal services.
How much is this going to cost?
A patent application is subject to the payment of a basic fee and additional fees that include a search fee, an examination fee, and issue fee. Depending on your application, there may also be excess claims fees.
  • Fees vary depending on the type of patent application that you submit
How long will this take?
Consider expedited examination options.
The USPTO Patent Application Initiatives Timeline displays various programs and initiatives that are available to applicants during each phase of the application process. Each program is designed to advance the progress of a patent application and to provide applicant assistance. View a detailed Matrix of programs available Prior to Examination.
Do you need International protection?
Do you want to file a Provisional or Nonprovisional application?
The USPTO Patent Application Initiatives Timeline displays various programs and initiatives that are available to applicants during each phase of the application process. Each program is designed to advance the progress of a patent application and to provide applicant assistance. View a detailed Matrix of programs available Prior to Examination.
Should you hire a Patent Attorney or Agent?
The preparation of an application for patent and the conducting of the proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) to obtain the patent is an undertaking requiring the knowledge of patent law and rules and Office practice and procedures, as well as knowledge of the scientific or technical matters involved in the particular invention.

Inventors may prepare their own applications and file them in the USPTO and conduct the proceedings themselves, but unless they are familiar with these matters or study them in detail, they may get into considerable difficulty. While a patent may be obtained in many cases by persons not skilled in this work, there would be no assurance that the patent obtained would adequately protect the particular invention.

Most inventors employ the services of registered patent attorneys or patent agents

Step 5

Prepare and submit your initial application

See the Patent Application Guides for the detailed legal requirements for filing the type of Patent Application you have determined is right for you.
Submit your initial application with all the required parts needed for obtaining a filing date and include the correct fee.
Submit your application online
Use EFS-Web, the USPTO’s electronic filing system for patent applications, to submit Utility patent applications, Provisional applications and many other types of Office correspondence to the USPTO via the Internet.
Before you sign your application, make sure that you read the written specification and claims. You will not be able to add anything new to your application once it has been filed with the USPTO.

Step 6

Work with your examiner

If your application is incomplete, you will be notified of the deficiencies by an official letter from the USPTO, known as an Office Action. You will be given a time period to complete the application filing (a surcharge may be required). If the omission is not corrected within a specified time period, the application will be returned or otherwise disposed of; the filing fee if submitted will be refunded less a handling fee as set forth in the fee schedule. Learn more about responding to Office Actions.
Estimate how long it will be until you receive your first official correspondence from the USPTO in response to your application.
Once your application has been accepted as complete, it will be assigned for examination.
Your examiner will review the contents of the application to determine if the application meets the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 111(a).
  • If the examiner does not think your application meets the requirements, the examiner will explain the reason(s). You will have opportunities to make amendments or argue against the examiner’s objections.
  • If you fail to respond to the examiner’s requisition, within the required time, your application will be abandoned.
If your application is twice rejected, you may appeal the examiner’s decision to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)
  • If your response to a Final Action does not overcome all of the examiner’s objections or if any of the claims have been twice rejected.You can consider filing an appeal with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)
If you have chosen legal representation, remember that once an application is filed by a patent attorney or agent, the USPTO will only communicate with the attorney or agent. Inventors often call the USPTO for updates, but they have a designated attorney or agent representing them. The USPTO does not engage in double correspondence with an applicant and a patent practitioner (37 CFR 1.33).
Sign up to view your pending application and documents in Private PAIR. You can also sign up for the PAIR e-Office Action Program to receive an email notification when a new Office communication is available for viewing and download in PAIR.
Consider an Interview with your examiner – The USPTO encourages examiners to take a proactive approach to examination by reaching out and engaging our stakeholders in an effort to resolve issues and shorten prosecution.

Step 7

Receive your approval

If the examiner determines that your application is in satisfactory condition and meets the requirements, you will receive a Notice of Allowance.
Utility and reissue patents are issued within about four weeks after the issue fee and any required publication fee are received in the Office. A patent number and issue date will be assigned to an application and an Issue Notification will be mailed after the issue fee has been paid and processed by the USPTO.
The patent grant is mailed on the issue date of the patent. It includes any references to prior patents, the inventor(s)’) names, specification, and claims (to name a few). It is bound in an attractive cover and includes a gold seal and red ribbon on the cover.
Order certified documentsOrder certified documents with the USPTO ribbon and seal as well as the signature of an authorized certifying officer.

Step 8

Maintain your patent

Pay Maintenance Fees and Check the Status
Maintenance fees are required to maintain a patent in force beyond 4, 8, and 12 years after the issue date for utility and reissue utility patents. If the maintenance fee and any applicable surcharge are not paid in a timely manner, the patent will expire.

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