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How to Patent an Idea - The Beginning

The process of patenting a new idea is an important one to learn so that you can protect it from being copied and profited from by others.

Although the filing process can be daunting if you have never done it before, it does require a substantial investment of time to research your idea and its market, create detailed drawings, as well as learn how to write clearly using precise terminology.

So where does one prepare for filing a patent?

An overview of the steps involved in patenting an idea

1. Maintain a record of your initial ideas as well as your progress step-by-step.

2. Investigate whether your idea qualifies for patent protection under existing patent law.

3. When you file for a patent, it is advisable to submit a prototype.

4. Make sure you understand the costs of filing a patent as well as the type of patent and the possibility of obtaining a provisional patent.

5. Fill out your patent application in order to acquire the actual patent that will protect your invention or design.

Types of Patents

There are three types of basic patents recognized by the USPTO:

  • A Utility Patent is the most common patent type and is used for approximately 90% of patents. USPTO states that utility patents protect the rights of a holder for up to twenty years from the date the patent application is filed for a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.

  • A Design Patent is to protect the look of an article of manufacture or the way it is used. Generally, a utility patent protects the ways in which something is used and functions, while a design patent protects how it looks.

  • A Plant Patent is issued for a “new and distinct, invented or discovered asexually reproduced plant…”

Am I the Right Person to Apply for a Patent?

A successful application for a patent must include:

  • Be the inventor of the idea; or

  • Have been assigned the invention by another person; or

  • Be a legal representative (administrator or executor of the estate) of the deceased inventor; or

  • Be the co-inventor (contributing more than money) and apply for a patent as joint inventors; and

  • Not be an employee of the USPTO unless the patent is received as an inheritance or bequest.

In summary, a patent is a legal grant or license from the USPTO that gives an inventor exclusive ownership rights to his or her invention over making, using, offering for sale, and selling the patented item or idea in the U.S.

What is not given is the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell, or import the idea. For example, if you get a patent for a skincare formula, it doesn't mean you have the right to sell or market your skincare formula before passing through lots of regulations and tests. You only have the right to prevent others from selling or marketing what is covered in your patent claims.

If you would like to know more about the patent process or would like to begin the patent submission process, visit our site or call us today!

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