It’s a common misconception that inventions can be patentable, but ideas cannot. Many people are perplexed by this statement and question if they have an innovation or an idea. Most of the time, what you think of as an idea qualifies as an innovation.
How does this affect you? Your idea is more complex than a simple notion and qualifies as an invention if it has structure. In general, you are good at creating a patentable innovation if you can create a working prototype, explain how the idea works, or draw pictures of it.
The majority of the time, when someone asks us to investigate and patent their idea, it falls under the definition of an invention. The terms “idea” and “innovation” will now be used interchangeably.
Then, how can you patent your innovation or idea? You should first consider the requirements your concept must meet to be patentable. There is a procedure for obtaining a patent if your idea satisfies these requirements. You will see in great detail on both.
Legal Approach For A Patent
Understanding the requirements for patenting and the process is always a good idea to have the best chance of success. Therefore, it is good if you hire a patent attorney to assist you in getting a patent. You can also hire business lawyers to make your problem easy.
Let’s examine the process of patenting an idea in more detail.
What Exactly Is a Patent?
A specific kind of property right is a patent. It is specifically a “right of intellectual property” over your concept. The area of law known as intellectual property concerns the ownership of ideas. One form of intellectual property is a patent. Trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are all forms of intellectual property in addition to patents.
With a patent, the owner has the legal authority to prevent others from producing, utilizing, selling, or importing anything covered by the patent. With patent protection, you can bar competitors from using your revolutionary invention.
The federal organization that evaluates petitions for patents, decides who should be granted a patent, and grants patents to inventors is the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
How to Patent an Idea: Steps
You’ve got a patent-eligible concept. You have weighed the advantages and disadvantages. You’ve come to the decision that you want a patent.Let’s now talk about how to submit the idea for a patent. A patent is obtained through a multi-step process. You can learn more about each of them in this article.
Step 1: Finish the preparations
It’s crucial to finish some background research and preparation before considering filing for a patent with the Patent Office. When it comes time to submit your patent application, this will help because you have already done much of the legwork.
Construct a Prototype
Although creating a prototype of your invention is not necessarily mandatory to obtain a patent, it can be a very beneficial step to execute early in the process.Nevertheless, prototypes are helpful when trying to patent an idea for the following reasons:
Prototypes assist you in assessing the functioning of your idea and force you to create practical designs and methods for your creation.The use of prototypes reveals potential areas for improvement in your innovation;By using prototypes, you can ensure that your invention will achieve its goals.
Is perfection required for your prototype?
Nope. Refrain from refining every last element of the prototype. Before you begin the patent application process, you can save time by ensuring that every component of your idea is flawless. To maintain an early application filing date, starting the application procedure as soon as possible is crucial.
Successful innovators typically follow this strategy:
They submit a patent application early to secure their ownership of the idea and refine and perfect their creation. When appropriately presented, the initial patent application will cover the entire concept of the product, even later improvements.
However, before spending a lot of money on a patent, it’s a good idea to be sure your invention and concept can do what you think they would. You can decide that with the aid of prototypes.
Identify the Inventors of the Patent
The inventors of your patent are frequently simple to locate. You came up with the concept on your own and put in time and effort to create a prototype.
The best concepts, however, are frequently created and thought up in groups. Developing an idea often involves several participants. Making decisions on who qualifies as an inventor must be done in advance.
Remember that an inventor contributed to the conception and development of the underlying idea of the claimed invention. An inventor is a person who contributes to the original concept and invention’s creativity. It does not automatically make someone a co-inventor just because they assisted in creating a prototype or offered their professional advice.
Step 2: Use a Patent Database to do a Patent Search
The next step is to use one of the many patent databases to perform a patent search for your concept. This will let you know if other people have already gotten a comparable patent, which will help you decide whether or not your idea is original, as described above.
The different patent databases maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office are where you can conduct your patent search. Consider the search’s limitations, why it may not be exhaustive, and the possibility that it cannot definitively rule out the existence of your idea.
But if you do this research before submitting your application and your idea has already been patented by someone else, you may save time and money.
Step 3: Prepare the Patent Application
Your patent searches reveal that no one else has applied for a patent covering your invention’s elements, making it potentially patentable. You could be prepared to begin the patent application process.
Step 4: Filing a Patent
To patent an idea, you must prepare, search, and submit your patent application to the Patent Office. What happens to your application after that?
Your application will be evaluated by several people who determine which “art unit” within the Patent Office to send it to after reviewing its specification and diagrams. The numerous classes you came across when examining the patent databases are correlated with the technology in these art units.
Your patent application will be assigned to a patent examiner as soon as it enters an art unit. Unfortunately, it is impossible to change your patent examiner once appointed. The application process typically involves a thorough examination of the invention to ensure it meets the criteria for patentability, including novelty, non-obviousness, and usefulness. Hiring a business lawyer can be a good idea to help you with the process, and ensure all the paperwork is in order and the chances of success are higher.