Can I prepare my own patent application?
If you have some technical writing experience you most certainly can prepare your own application! The most popular types of applications are: provisional, utility, and design. Provisional applications are not examined whereas utility and design applications are examined. This difference means that it is much simpler to file a provisional application on your own than the utility and design applications. Primarily, the provisional application must contain an enabling disclosure and one that will properly support meaningful claims in the utility application to follow. To satisfy these requirements, applicants should describe the invention fully and include as many drawings of the invention as practical. The description should include a discussion of the manner in which the invention will be used and the interaction between the components of the invention. Also describe as many variations of the design as possible. The many formal requirements for the utility and design applications make them much more difficult to file on your own, but not impossible. Luckily the Patent Office has put together a reference manual that contains all of the requirements for each in a individual chapters. Expect to put in a considerable amount of time into drafting your patent. Most experienced drafters spend between 30 and 40 hours on most of the applications that they draft. Plus the time it takes to complete the patent drawings.
If you decide to file your own application, you should have an attorney look over the specification and the claims that you prepare. Doing so can actually save money in the long run. For instance, Magellan Global LLC recently did some work for an inventor that wrote his own application. The specification was really very good, but the claims did not follow many formal requirements. As a result, the inventor received rejections and incurred fees that could have been avoided had the inventor contacted an attorney to review the application before it was filed. Incidentally the fees paid to the Patent Office cost more than the fee that Magellan Global LLC would have charged for the review.