The Invention Process
I Have an Idea: How do I Patent It

I have an idea, how will I get a patent? If you are thinking like this, you have the potential of being recognized as an inventor. There are plenty of people who have great invention ideas running around in their heads that have the potential of being great. However, most of them do not do anything about the invention idea they have. Some do something to a limited degree but never pursue it to its full fruition. To turn your new invention idea into something and into the hands of consumers, you have to follow some basic steps.

Patenting Basics

The first thing that needs to be done is to ensure that your new idea has not been patented yet. You can search the internet to do this since the complete patent database can now be accessed online. You can search through it by keywords. Once you have become familiar enough with the system, you can do a more extensive investigation, to find out if your idea already has a patent. If your new invention can still be patented, get a patent attorney to do the work for you since it will require a law professional to do a more intensive research and file a strong patent.

Once your new invention idea has been patented, the next task would be to create a prototype and do some research on your potential market. To be able to attract companies that are capable of marketing your great new invention for you, you should provide them with the figures that will demonstrate the market potential of your new concept. You can do this yourself but you have the option of getting the services of an invention firm to take care of everything.

If you decide to go this route, make sure that you are getting a legitimate company. There are people who have lost substantial amounts of money on fly by night companies so always do some background checking before paying anything. Establishing the reputation of an invention company can be done easily through the BBB or Better Business Bureau and FTC or Federal Trade Commission. You could also look for online feedbacks from people who have used the services of a certain company in the past. The entire process can take a long time but you can help it along by doing some of the initial work on your own. You can hire additional help when they become necessary.

Qualifying for a Patent

To ensure that your invention will qualify for patent, it must fulfill several conditions. First, you must determine if your concept is not an abstract idea, a law of nature or a physical phenomenon. If you discover a new medicinal herb or a math formula, you cannot have it patented. In addition, your invention should not fall under the dramatic, musical, literary or artistic categories. If you want to protect such works, you can have them copyrighted, not patented.

Creative concepts should be useful. By “useful”, it means that the new invention must be operative and have a practical purpose. If you invented a gadget that will not operate according to its intended purpose, it will not be given a patent.

Determine if your great new invention will not offend public morality. Inventions that are intended for illegal use will fall under this category. Similarly, a new idea must not have been patented, published in printed journals, used or known in the United States or abroad.

Finally, your invention must be non-obvious or different enough from inventions that have already been patented. Once you have determined that getting a patent should be your next move, here are some tips to follow:

•    Be Tactful – once your patent application has been filed, you have the right to use patent applied or patent pending on your product and go ahead with its business plan. But it does not mean that you should tell everybody about it. During this stage, you should be cautious about giving out information. If you have to share something, do it only with certain aspects of the plan and only to the right people. The entire invention should not be revealed. As an additional protection, you can have a non-disclosure agreement signed by people that you have disclosed essential information to.

•    Find Investors – Legal and other fees can be substantial when filing a patent. If you are on a budget, you can incorporate a business plan with your new product, and find people that would invest in your business. Make a presentation about how a business could be grown the idea. Give them options as incentives. You can offer equity to them or direct percentage from the royalties that could be earned from a patented product. Remember that these investors would be taking the same risks that you are taking so they should be interested in the potential profits as well.

•    Be Patient – when applying for a patent, it may take as long as a couple of years before you can get your certificate, and it is only the first step in making your creative idea a market success. However, this should not discourage you since the odds are good that the application will be approved.

If you have an idea you think should be patented, go ahead and file an application. Bear in mind that this could be the perfect moment for you to start a market monopoly. Getting a patent for new business ideas is the only legal way of preventing competition.

Disclaimer: It is the inventor's responsibility to research and vet companies before entering into a business relationship with any company. InventMyIdea does not provide warranties or guarantees for services offered by any company.