How To Patent An Idea

When you have an idea so good that you think it should be patented, you’re are probably asking yourself many questions. Where do I go to patent my idea? What documents do I need? Can I patent the idea myself? If I go to a lawyer how much will it cost? How long will the process take? What types of patents exist and which one should I get? Is my idea even Patentable? Every case is different, and every idea needs different treatment.

Let’s start by trying to resolve some of the basic questions.

Where Do I Go To Patent My Idea?

Before you go anywhere, start with a simple google search. Many people contact us with the intention of patenting an idea and during a quick search we see that the same idea is already someone else’s reality. So before anything, search! Pick wisely the keywords that describe what your idea does and take your time. If you find a similar product but your idea has added features no worries you may still be able to patent it.  After this is taken care of, you want to decide if you search for a lawyer or do it yourself. If you are asking yourself where to go to patent your idea I would strongly suggest you find a patent lawyer that specializes in this.

Where Do I Patent?

Where to patent your idea depends mainly on where your intent to sell is. Some people choose the largest market. For example, if you are in North America you ideally should patent in the US. Some people patent where they reside so for example if you live in Canada you may want to make sure you are the only one selling where you reside. If you have a budget to patent in several places you may want to study the market and where you intend to sell or offer your idea.

Can I Patent My Idea Myself?

Yes, of course, you can, any individual can access all the information needed on the UPSTO website. You can read through patents which are similar to yours and learn as much as you can to help with the entire process on your own. Other than the written information you have to file, you will also need to create patent drawings. If you are not an expert drafts person or designer you can always outsource the patent drawings alone.

One thing that is important to mention is that patent applications are written in a complex language. The experts on this write in ways to protect your idea in a broad manner. If you have a dispute about the features with a patent agent a patent lawyer can work around that language to get specific claims in.

The protection of your idea depends only on what is written in the application. If it’s not written properly you may have a competitor patent the same idea but worded differently.

If I Pay A Lawyer How Much Will It Cost? How Long Will The Process Take?

Depending on the firm a patent can cost you anywhere from $5000 to $15000 US. You can try to work with them by handing in more information than they usually expect. If during the process there is a dispute from the patent agent you will need extra legal fees to address the dispute and make changes to the specific claims in question. The process can take 6 months to over 2 years or more. This really depends on the idea and if the agent finds many infringements. In some cases you may want to keep trying to work around an important claim for it to be accepted or in some cases you may drop a few and not work on them. In an ideal case, the agent finds no infringements and your patent is issued right after the case if given to a patent agent.

What Types Of Patents Exist And Which One Should I Get?

There are many types of patents. The most common patents we deal with are Utility Patents and Design Patents. You want to aim for a utility patent as it protects the function of your idea. When for some reason you can’t apply for a utility patent than some people try to patent their idea with a design patent. This patent only protects the form and aesthetics of your idea. In some cases the form is all they want to protect. Timing is of the essence in patents so the sooner you patent your idea before someone else the better. A cheaper way to start the process is with a provisional patent. It’s a great start to get that date locked in with less money, less work and less details.

Is My Idea Patentable?

This is a complicated question. Each case is unique and potentially patentable. Give us a call, sign an NDA and we can discuss the possibilities that your idea may have to be patented.