It's a God thing October 02 2013
The next step on the path to patenting my idea was not an easy one to take. The patentability search revealed that it might be possible to obtain a utility patent, but there were no guarantees. I was advised not to pursue a foreign patent unless I was willing to spend time and money traveling overseas to appear in court and protect it (I most definitely was not). I was also not interested in applying for a design patent – these are cheaper and easier to get, but they do not give as much protection since someone can make slight tweaks to your design and still come to market with a very similar product. So at this time I'm looking to pursue a U.S. utility patent for my idea. I received a quote from my patent agent for this step, and all things considered (his time + the USPTO filing fees) his quote came in around $5000. I was hesitant to spend the $900 for the patentability search, so you can imagine the struggle I had with the decision to spend an additional 5 grand with no guarantee that my patent would even be issued. No guarantee.
This was a huge decision that I could not make on my own. My husband was supportive and willing to go in either direction - stop or proceed. I was sitting in my office one morning praying about what to do. I'm a "hit me over the head with a sign" kind of gal, so as I'm praying for this specific direction, my phone rings. I was a freelance graphic designer (still am), and a client was calling about a new catalog project that paid a set, per page fee. When I hung up the phone and calculated my income for this job, it was the exact price of the quote I received from my patent agent. Exact – to the dollar. I took that as the exact sign I was looking for. I emailed my patent agent with the green light to proceed.
My twenty-four page patent application was sent to the USPTO on December 7th of 2007. Twenty-seven short (not!) months later, my patent issued. It was March 23rd, 2010, and I was now the proud owner of a United States Utility Patent.