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Patent an Idea

How to Patent an Idea

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Every day, people around the world are coming up with new, innovative, and interesting invention ideas that run the gamut from selling a fun product to changing the way people live. The first step after developing an idea that has real market potential is to file for a patent so that it can be protected and properly used to make the most out of the idea’s potential.
Unfortunately, too many people who come up with great ideas do not fully understand how to patent an idea which leaves them vulnerable to having it stolen or not being used properly. Here is a step-by-step method of getting your idea from the concept stage to having it protected by a patent.

Record the Progress of your Invention or Idea

Basically, this means that you need to have accurate notes about your idea so that it can be properly vetted and patented. You’ll want to record each step in the process using a notebook, log, or some form of journal so that it can be tracked from your initial idea through to the final development.
The good news is that the notes you keep do not have to be extensive, but they do need to be accurate and descriptive enough so that they can be used to properly fill out the patent application form. The notes will also be helpful in case there is a dispute or disagreement about the origin of your idea. In many cases, people have developed similar ideas about the same idea or invention separately because they fulfilled a need that only recently became apparent.


Qualification

Now that your idea has reached the stage where it can be patented, the next step is finding out if it qualifies. There are certain qualifications required for what you have come up with to be patented. For products, it usually requires a physical description that includes a drawing or representation of what it is so that it can qualify.
Here, you will need to read over the qualification requirements to ensure that your idea is far enough along so that it qualifies. You might want to seek out assistance from a reputable company or organization that works with inventors and idea makers in developing your invention idea to the point where it can be patented.


Potential

This is arguably the most difficult part of the patent application, the research needed to fully understand the commercial value of what you have created. Keep in mind that many inventions had no immediate use, but later turned out to be quite valuable. An example is the Light Emitting Diode or LED that was invented at the turn of the 20th century, but no one could fully exploit its potential as a light source until the past 20 years.
So, your idea will need to be properly evaluated to see if it does have commercial potential. The good news is that your invention or idea does not have be considered a big seller, but it must have some value to the public in general.

Patent Search

Once you have reached this point, you will need to search the patent records to ensure that what you have invented has not already happened. The last thing you want is to put in all that work only to find that another person has patented an identical or similar idea or invention. However, all is not lost if you find that it has occurred. It may be that your idea needs tweaking or an addition that makes it unique.

File Application

Now you are ready to prepare and file for an application with the USPTO or patent office so that you can protect your new idea. Follow the instructions to the letter and have it checked out by a third party, such as a law firm or company devoted to helping inventors and idea makers like yourself. Once ready, you submit the application properly and wait for the result.

Seek Patent Protection Quickly

Keep in mind that you should move through the entire process in a manner that covers all the bases while moving as quickly as possible. This is because other people may have the same idea or invention as you have created, but they have been waiting around. So, once you believe that your idea has real merit, start the patent process as soon as you can.