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‘Mystery’ Solved – Inventors Digest

Expanding Innovation Hub helps take the uncertainty out of the patent process

Getting a patent may seem difficult. It’s important to understand the steps along the way, so the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s new Expanding Innovation Hub has the information you need to demystify the patent system.

The USPTO’s individual inventor toolkit in the Expanding Innovation Hub provides full context and background information via three major components:

A history of the patent system, with the importance and types of patents;
The growth of the patent system, including the need for expanding participation in intellectual property, women inventors in the workforce, and why inventing matters; and
A patent roadmap with the anatomy of a patent, the patent application journey, and the role of the USPTO in the process.

The Hub’s toolkit shows you a physical example of a patent, with a sample claim and diagram so you can be familiar with the document’s primary components.

You also can see an explanation of all four steps of the patent application journey. A patent application roadmap guides you through the back-and-forth with the USPTO.

Beyond the individual inventor toolkit, two important resources from the Hub are the Mentoring Toolkit, designed to help organizations establish an infrastructure to connect experienced innovators with the next generation; and Community Group Resources for helping organizations establish an infrastructure to connect groups of employees with shared characteristics, interests, and goals.

The Hub’s inventor and entrepreneur resources link you to information on trademarks, assessing your IP, and how to protect yourself.

You can also investigate a list of free legal services. You can even request a USPTO speaker.

Looking for additional resources? The Hub suggests the Inventor Assistance Center, Patent Pro Bono Program, law school clinics, and patent and trademark resource centers. The helpline phone number is 1-800-PTO-9199.

The main Hub webpage: uspto.gov/initiatives/expanding-innovation