I currently have an invention that I believe requires a patent. I'm a veteran with limited funds, humbly requesting any help available.
Thank you for your service.
I am unable to answer your question, whether there are any pro bono, patent attorneys assisting military veterans in Florida, but the following provides general information concerning patent applications.
FYI: Many patent attorneys throughout the United States offer free consultations. (You may find that a consultation with a patent attorney is a good way to get started in the patent application process.)
You should consider conducting a prior art search.
—A prior art search of previous public disclosures including, but not limited to, previously patented inventions in the U.S. may be conducted to determine if your invention has been publicly disclosed and, thus, is not patentable.
—You should be aware that even if the subject matter sought to be patented is not exactly shown by the prior art, and involves one or more differences, a patent may still be refused if a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the invention would find it obvious to make the change.
The prudent course is not to publicly disclose your innovation before you file an application for patent that adequately describes your invention.
In the United States, an invention cannot be patented if:
"(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention" or
"(2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued [by the U.S.] or in an application for patent published or deemed published [by the U.S.], in which the patent or application … was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention."
—There are certain limited patent law exceptions to patent prohibitions (1) and (2) above. An exception may apply to a disclosure made 1 year or less before the effective filing date of the claimed invention, if the disclosure was made by the inventor or joint inventor or by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor...
[You should be aware that foreign countries have an absolute novelty requirement, which means there can be no public disclosure before an application is filed.]
You may want to consider filing a provisional application for patent. Basically, a provisional application for patent is a placeholder with a low filing fee (currently $70 for applicants who qualify for micro-entity status) that establishes a filing date for an invention but will not result in a patent on its own.
General information concerning provisional applications:
A provisional application for patent (or, simply, "provisional application") establishes a filing date for the invention and permits the term "Patent Pending" to be applied in connection with the invention. The disclosure of the invention in the provisional application should be as complete as possible. Claims in a provisional application are optional, but it is highly recommended to include a set of claims in a provisional application.
● Independent inventors should fully understand that a provisional application has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed and will not mature into a granted patent without further submissions by the inventor. An applicant must file a nonprovisional application claiming benefit of the earlier provisional application filing date in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before the 12-mo. pendency period expires in order to preserve any benefit from the provisional filing. Any claimed subject matter in the nonprovisional patent application that is adequately supported by the provisional application will receive the benefit of the earlier filing date of the provisional application.
Before you decide to file a patent application, you should discuss your invention with a registered patent attorney or agent. Good luck to you.
Thank you for your service.
You might try this group: http://www.artslawfl.org/
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