How to patent an idea?


How to patent an idea?

Do you have an idea, which you think should be patented? Getting a patent for your idea is a wise consideration because a patent protects your idea from being used, duplicated, copied or sold by other individuals other than you.  So, how do you go about getting a patent for your idea?

Well, first of all, an idea cannot be patented, because after all, it is “just an idea” (abstract) no matter how brilliant it might be.  However, having an idea is a very crucial step to developing an invention which may be eligible to receive a patent. Also, you may think you have a “mere idea” when in an actual sense what you have is an invention. For instance, “ I want to create a babysitting software,” is an idea, but outlining the details of the software and actualizing the idea is the invention.  So, to get a patent you will need to move your idea from the “idea stage”, to the invention stage by describing it with enough specifics and details, which can be used to create or develop it.

Once you are confident that you can turn your idea into an invention (through a detailed description, drawings and more), the next step is to determine whether or not your invention is eligible for a patent. Some examples of what can be patented or not, as outlined by the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) include:

Designs: If you develop a new design you can patent it, even if you have not actualized it. For instance, if you come up with a new shape for an airplane, or come up with a new car design.

Computer software: Software can be described as either a “machine” or a “process”, which are eligible for a patent.

If you biologically or scientifically invent a new organism or substance, then this can be patented.

Physical phenomena and laws of nature do not qualify to receive a patent.

If your idea is just a theory that cannot be actualized or put into practice, then chances are it would be hard to get a patent for the idea.

Once you have determined whether or not your idea can be patented, the next step is to begin the patent application process, which begins by conducting a patent search. This search will determine whether or not your idea has already been patented. After the search, you can now fill patent forms on the USPTO’s website or physically at their office, to begin the patent registration process.

Filling and filing patent registration forms can be a long, complicated and even expensive process.  You may opt to do the patent registration on your own, in order to make a saving but this can be very frustrating, as the patent documents are filled with legal jargon which can be difficult to understand. You may also opt to hire a patent attorney who will be able to do the patent registration on your behalf. This might be costly, but the process can be quite easy when you have this kind of experienced legal help.

Getting a patent for an idea can be challenging, as an idea is “abstract,” hence the need to turn your idea into an invention; which can be described and even actualized.  You will need to search if your idea is an original one, and then start the patent registration process,to get a patent for your idea.