The most affordable way to begin the processing of patenting something is to obtain a Provisional Patent.
To obtain a Provisional Patent, an inventor (or an attorney acting on behalf of the inventor) must file a description of his invention along with a small fee to the USPTO. Notwithstanding the administrative formalities associated with a Provisional Patent, there are a few substantive differences between a Provisional Patent filing and a formal Patent Filing:
1. A Provisional Patent is much cheaper to obtain than a formal Patent;
2. A Provisional Patent is not examined for substance, but for filing formalities (such as, among other things, proper filing forms) therefore, a Provisional Patent is almost always and immediately granted;
The description of the invention in a Provisional Patent must only meet two requirements:
1. The inventor must describe how to build and use the invention in enough detail such that ‘one of ordinary skill in the field of the invention’ would be able to recreate and use the invention based on the description, and
2. The inventor must disclose the best way he knows how to build and use the invention; and
3. A Provisional Patent does not require the inventor to submit drawings or actually specify what portion of his disclosure he claims as his invention.
It is important to note that although above referenced element (3) is never verified by the USPTO, violating these description requirements may hinder an inventor’s pursuit for a formal Patent with the priority date established by his Provisional Patent.
In addition to the description, you must file a coversheet that contains the following information:
1.Name and Residence of all Inventors,
3.A Title for the Invention,
4.An indication that the filing is for a Provisional Patent,
5.An indication of which (if any, government agency has interest in the invention),
6.A declaration of entity status (micro entity/small entity/large entity), and
7.Name and Registration of Patent Attorney/Agent representing the filing (if any).
If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.
Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.