There are many steps in this category and not all of them are free at the moment.  The governments fees are what they are so expect to pay for them. The opportunity in this category is to get a lawyer to review your idea and documentation and advise you for FREE.  We are providing a few patent firms that you can use as advisors.  Have Non Disclosures signed where appropriate before sending in your information.  Stay tuned on this one we have started negotiating with a firm that may provide free legal services.

http://www.patentpending.com/patapp.html
http://www.bayareaip.com/HowToStart/

There is also a good example of a provisional patent application for those new to this process and some DIY advice.
http://www.bobharter.com/doityourself.php

Free search services are available and are a good idea to give you more information before you pull the trigger.
http://www.tmpsearchers.com/free-patent-search.html

 

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