Patent Information
Patenting Inventions to Protect Your Original Ideas

Patenting inventions allow you to protect your creation from being made, used or sold by other people for twenty years beginning from the date that the patent application was filed. If you have a unique invention that you think has a potential, then the first thing you should know is how to patent an idea. However, before finding your way to the patent office, you should first determine if your idea is ready for patenting. Is it complete? Can it do what it is supposed to do and do you already have a prototype that functions? Have you run it through various tests? Making sure that your invention is ready is necessary because it would be the basis for the patent. Any modifications that you will make after the fact would necessitate another patent. In addition, if your invention is already finished, you can immediately make an evaluation of your market.

However, what exactly is a patent?

A patent is a legal document that is given to the first person who invented an idea that is original and given by the patent and trademark office of a particular country. In the United States, new patents are given protection for twenty years from the application date but in special scenarios, the date of related applications made earlier is considered. In such a case, you will be required to pay maintenance fees. A utility patent application can also be done to distinguish the application from other kinds of patents that are granted in the US such as design patents. However, this should not be confused with utility models, which are given in other countries. Take note that a patent does not give you the right to produce, sell or import. Rather it excludes other people from producing, marketing or importing inventions.

What inventions can be patented?

The general information on patents as well as the conditions on how a patent for an idea can be obtained is specified under the patent law. Any individual who discovers or invents any useful and original machine, process, composition of matter, manufacture or improvement thereof can apply for the patent. Such is subject to the requirements and conditions of the law.
Patenting inventions require that the idea be new, in accordance with the definition prescribed in the patent law. It is possible to patent an invention if it has not been used or known by other people in the country and described or patented in a printed journal in one’s own or foreign country before it was discovered by the person applying for a patent. In addition, the idea should not have been described or patented in a printed journal in one’s own or foreign country, offered for sale or in public use in the country more than a year before the patent application.

In this regard, the time for the inventions is irrelevant no matter if the public use of the idea or its printed publication was made by the person who invents or discovers the idea or by another person. If the inventor publishes his idea in a printed publication, sell it or use it in public, he should apply for a patent before a year goes by. If this is not the done, the rights of an individual to his invention or patent will be forfeited. In many countries, the filing must be done on the day it is disclosed or used in public to preserve the rights to the patent.

Importance of attorneys and agents in patenting inventions

The application for patents for a design is a process that needs to be done by someone who is knowledgeable of the law and rules on patent, as well as of the technical and scientific aspects involved in the new invention or idea. Although in many cases it can be done by a person who is not skilled on patent law and regulations, there would be no assurance that the patent obtained will cover the particular invention adequately.
It is important that the patent attorney you employ is knowledgeable about your invention. Thus, you should provide him with any research done on the idea, so that he can have an adequate examination of your invention, and then perform a proper patent search. A patent or application that is very similar to your own idea can be found in the process. A good attorney will inform you honestly, whether this will void your patent application or not. If it does not, he will then proceed with the patent process.  Patent applications include the following:

•    A description of any inventions made earlier that are relevant to your idea
•    A brief description of the invention
•    A “preferred embodiment” of the idea, which is actually a description of how your idea will be actually used
•    At least one claim. This is the most important part of the application as claims are the actual legal description of your idea
•    The patent application should also include drawings if they are necessary

The fees of a patent attorney can range from 5,000 to 20,000 dollars. Although this might seem quiet an amount, it is important that you make a proper patent application in order to get a strong patent. To save on payment for legal services rendered, you can do whatever initial work is necessary on your own although your lawyer will most likely do it again.

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.