I'm looking to file a provisional patent application in Canada and the US. From what I've been told, the process is not easily out-sourceable, and I'm on a shoestring startup budget. I would like to find out how much work it is to file the application on my own.
Can anyone provide me with a step by step guideline for the process? I'd like to both judge the amount of work involved and possibly try to follow it.
Go to uspto.gov where the process is described in plain language and instructions are easy to follow. I have done it several times and my provisional applications have been filed without problems. They are not evaluated by anyone, they are just date holders. You DO NOT need to do patent search or state your claims at this point. Once you file a real application you can use the provisional filing date as your patent filed date. What you describe in the provisional application will affect what you can claim in the actual application so keep that in mind and try not to be too broad or too narrow when describing your invention. My cost was $110 for individual entity. Have fun and good luck.
This is not something you want to cut corners on. The biggest part of filing a patent is the patent research. Your patent cannot be a duplicate of an existing patent. You really need an experienced attorney to do this for you. The sites like LegalZoom that offer this service dont do the actual research for you. A poor patent is junk. Just cause you have a patent on something, does not mean that the patent has any value. Having a firm research and file your patent will give you peace of mind knowing that if someone takes your idea you have some recourse in IP law. Still defending patents is a beast of its own. Do not think a patent will discourage or prevent anyone from taking your idea.