The process and fees vary, depending on what type of application you’re filing. This is a general overview of the process for a utility patent.
Before filing a patent application, it’s important to consider what—exactly—you want to protect and why. The kind of protection you get from an issued patent depends on what kind of patent you’re applying for and how the patent application is written.
A preemptive search can save you money by helping you determine early on whether you’re likely to get a patent. There are numerous places you can search for prior art on your own.