How to Patent an Idea


The world’s greatest minds came up with indispensable inventions time and again that would revolutionize the world. Any great invention begins with a rough sketch of an idea and so as to protect one’s intellectual property one needs to file a patent. The whole concept of officially registering an idea to your name is called a patent. A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor. It is granted for a limited period of time but in turn, the inventor has to offer up details regarding the product making it public knowledge. A patent is sort of an intellectual property.

In order to get an idea patented there is an entire procedure that is to be followed. There is a whole set of rules that apply to whether an idea or invention is eligible to be patented. For that one must conduct research to be sure of that. If one has an idea that evolved into the form of a process, an article of manufacture, a machine, or a composition of matter they can patent it. The raw idea may seem abstract and if it is not considered a useful invention or it is a natural phenomenon such an idea or invention won’t meet the eligibility criteria. To help citizens evaluate their inventions, the United States established an official organization, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where inventors can review the list of patentable materials. Another thing to consider before going through the standard procedure of patenting is that the idea must be able to evolve at least to the extent of becoming a tangible invention and its practical use must be apparent.

There are examples that might help one decide whether their product can be qualified to get patented. For instance, a computer program is classified under a process or machine. Since the software makes the computer read command and follow it, it will be categorized as a process. The process is usually subject to copyright and not patent. Besides, designs can be patented for one’s property which is not even built yet, like a new shape for a boat or plane. Additionally, the discovery or invention of a new element, organism or substance can be subject to a patent. Things that mostly are not deemed eligible for patenting are natural phenomenon, abstract theory that is impossible to put into practice or that can be of physical use.

The second step in the process of getting a patent is establishing whether your idea or invention is worth becoming a product of use. It all depends on clearing the test that is based on three basic decisive factors. First of all it is imperative to determine novelty of an idea. If it is something previously demonstrated publicly and even slightly similar to other ideas, it can be disqualified. For example, a regular coffee maker is already in the market and widely known manufacture, thus ineligible for patenting. Then comes the criterion of its uniqueness that the idea shouldn’t be too obvious for other inventors to come up with. In this case, any architectural design or structure of a building that other architects and engineers with the sound knowledge of the subject can create too. Finally, the practical use of the invention is the most important of all. Even if the idea is original and unique, however, fails to be of use to target consumer than it most certainly doesn’t hold the potential to be patented. The consumers can range from common people, researchers or big manufacturers.

If one’s invention passes all these tests then conduct a research on patent database confirming if his product is not similar to that of other products. This research will help establish your preferences and also protect you from any future lawsuits. In case of similar patents found upon research one must alter the design of the product or come up with certain edition to set it apart from other inventions. Nonetheless, the product shouldn’t be altered beyond recognition, changing the core concept behind it. The next step and quite crucial at that would be looking for potential sponsors or fund raisers for your product. This step often creates great trouble for inventors as they find it difficult for their idea to be developed into a product without financial support. Before building a prototype or assembling a manufacturing team for the job one must have considerable amount to fund the project.

Many people find the easy solution to raise funds is crowd-sourcing, which is a collection of money through online sources. It is rather an unorthodox way of collecting funds from a large number of people instead of following the traditional method of looking for one source. Also this process of raising money entails not giving up a certain percentage of profit that one’s product will make in the future. On the other hand, it is deemed as an unreliable way in recent years. It can easily culminate in deception or cheating one out of their ideas as others might get it patented before them. Therefore, one must patent it before they crowd-source.

Another source that might come in handy for inventors is InventHelp. This domain points one in the direction of manufacturers or companies who might be interested in investing resources in one’s product. They help build and sell it upon the condition of sharing a certain percentage of profit with them. This source doesn’t help determine if the idea is patentable, although it guides the inventor regarding the market and the usability of their ideas. After understanding the market, comes the step of finalizing a prototype to file a patent. Patent can be filed without a prototype but it involves a high risk of the idea being stolen. Unless it is one’s intellectual property it is prone to theft, hence one must only involve trustworthy team members to the task of building a prototype. Also, one thing that is important to remember is that the patent office follows a first-come first-served service policy which makes it tempting for frauds to find out one’s idea and file the patent without their knowledge.

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