When and how to patent your idea.
You Google information on patents and the first thing you find is a ton of companies promising to help you patent your ideas and take them to market. Yeah, and, by the way, you have to mail them your idea in an envelope. Heard that one before? The reality is that no one can guarantee your idea will make it big. So, if there are no guarantees, should you bother with patenting? Is it worth doing? When and how to patent your idea are two of the biggest questions you will face as an inventor. Research is always the first step, but before we get into detail on that, you need to understand how your patent will be evaluated. There are 3 principles the patent office will use to judge your invention:
- NEW. Make sure your idea has not been made public by you or anyone else. The invention must be novel. That is, your idea has to be original and you must be the original inventor.
- UTILITY. The idea must show utility. You must prove that it can work and that it has a useful purpose.
- NOT OBVIOUS. Your idea or invention must show inventive ingenuity with innovations that would not be obvious to someone who is skilled in the discipline the invention pertains to. Simple modifications of existing devices are not patentable, nor are combinations of existing components.
What do you need to do before seeking a patent? Research! When and how to patent your idea starts with research. People show up at our offices with ideas and inventions ready to patent, and sometimes ready for manufacturing with functioning prototypes already made, only to have us find similar products already being sold in the marketplace. Please research! If you are not going to pay a professional company to conduct this research for you, take time to do it right and look carefully in a variety of places. It is not enough to just look on Google. Research the US Patent Office and trademark office, or any other database where you intend to patent your idea.
If you are absolutely sure your idea will pass the three criteria above, and you not only believe in your idea but have the energy, time, and financial resources to move forward with it until it is ready for market, our advice is patent now! And remember: always sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement.) Here is a link to a few of the NDAs we use. If you need help with the patenting process, contact us now for a FREE consultation!