This is the first time I'm thinking about filing a patent, and I don't know where to start. First of all I'm not from the USA but I want to file a patent with the USPTO without a patent attorney as I can't afford one.

Can be a patent filed online? Where can I get detailed information about the procedures and fees? And most important, if there is a similar patent, can I be sued from the owner?

  • First step is to search if the patent exist already. You can find information regarding fees and application forms at uspto website. Mar 23, 2014 at 4:09
  • The book that is most frequently recommended is Patent it Yourself by David Pressman.
    – George White
    Mar 23, 2014 at 20:45
  • A patent which is not written as it must be worth nothing. So you should be well informed otherwise you won't be protected even if you get patented. If there are a similar patent, your application will be rejected and you will lose money and time. Dec 26, 2014 at 9:14

3 Answers 3


I don't know where to start?

For starter you should read the USPTO patent applicant checklist on filing patent and its basic requirements and gather information listed therein. LINK

what if inventor or applicant is not from the USA?

Most of the countries prohibit direct filing of patent application to foreign countries. These are called security restriction. It depends on your resident country. TO better evaluate situation inventor has to check respective country ACT and Rules before filing a patent application in foreign country. PCT has listed respective sections of some countries -- following link

How to file a patent with the USPTO without a patent attorney?

You can file patent application using EFS-WEB provided you are inventor of invention.

Can be a patent filed onlne?

YES USPTO application can be filed online at EFS-WEB

Where can I get detailed information about the procedures and fees?

Detailed information are available on Fee Detailed information on filing forms and their respective formats can be found at Link

if there is a similar patent, can I be sued from the owner?

Infringement is based on actions defined in

35 U.S.C. 271 Infringement of patent. (a) Except as otherwise provided

in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States, or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent


Now if you are filing patent application Its not an act of infringement. But if you are filing for regulatory approval and product is patented in US its called as act of infringement.


Filing a patent with USPTO is an easy part, and you can definitely do it yourself. It costs around $800 to file as a Small Entity.

Current USPTO fees can be found here: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/qs/ope/fee010114.htm

However, you'd most likely need an attorney to draft a patent application and respond to Office Actions during patent prosecution (when your claims get rejected, etc.) That's where it gets really expensive. I cut costs by finding a patent attorney on sites like Elance.


Be careful, in the interest of protecting national security, your first patent filing might need to be in a patent office within your country of residence or where the invention was made (conceived).

For example, a patent application for an invention made in (conceived within) the US must first be filed with the USPTO (or must otherwise have authorization to be filed abroad). See 35 USC 184 ==> http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s140.html and 35 USC 181 ==> http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/mpep-9015-appx-l.html#d0e304551

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