No. You are not required to obtain a patent in order to sell a product or service embodying your invention. Many products and services are sold that are not patented. A U.S. patent provides the right to stop others from making marketing, selling, or importing your invention in the United States. Generally speaking the first step toward commercializing an invention and making money is typically to pursue the patent path.
Under U.S. patent law, you must file your patent application within one year of the first offer to sell your invention, or within one year of your first public use or disclosure of your invention. This means that you must determine the first offer to sell date, or the first public disclosure date.
You can file a patent application on behalf of yourself or your co-inventors. Alternatively, you can hire a registered patent agent or attorney to file your application for you. Patent applications require both legal and technical expertise and even small mistakes can dramatically compromise the value of the patent.
Once you add legal fees, non-provisional patents usually cost between $8,000 and $15,000 or more. Filing a non-provisional patent with lawyer fees will usually cost the following for each invention type: An extremely simple invention, such as a paper clip or coat hanger, will cost between $5,000 and $7,000.
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