The Process of Patenting an Idea
If you are somebody that enjoys coming up with ideas or if you just happen to have a random idea that you think would make a great invention, it may be time for you to consider getting a patent. The first step in patenting an idea is to determine if it is eligible for a patent in the first place.
If you are somebody that enjoys coming up with ideas or if you just happen to have a random idea that you think would make a great invention, it may be time for you to consider getting a patent. Of course, you can't just patent anything and there are some limitations as to what you can do in this area. It is also important for you to understand, there are some steps that need to be taken in order for you to patent an idea successfully. With a great invention or idea, however, you may have what is necessary to patent it and perhaps to set the wheels in motion to make it a wild success.
The first step in patenting an idea is to determine if it is eligible for a patent in the first place. The fact of the matter is, all of us have ideas but not all of them are going to necessarily be one that is able to be patented properly. For example, you would not be able to patent a natural phenomena and if you have an idea that is too abstract, it may not qualify for a patent as well. On the other hand, there are plenty of ideas that do qualify for a patent. The best thing for you to do is to check the USPTO website to determine if your idea would qualify for a patent.
The next step in the process is to determine if your patent is one that is truly unique. You might be surprised with how many different ideas have already been patented so it is going to take some research on your part in order to determine that it is open for patenting. If it has been determined that it is available, you need to consider the type of patent that will be necessary. The 3 basic types of patents include a design patent, plant patent and the utility patent. Each of these carries its own different definition and you should familiarize yourself with those definitions before proceeding.
There are several different filing strategies that should be considered. These include a US non-provisional patent, international patent or a US provisional patent. Again, some research is necessary on your part to determine which one is going to be right for your idea. Once you have gone through those steps, it is time for you to file the patent with the USPTO. This can be done electronically and although there are forms to do so, you may be better seeking the help of a qualified service that can make sure that it is filed properly. If any attachments are necessary, these must be given in a PDF format.
Now that your patent is filed, you will need to wait for your reference number and authorization code. These will be provided after processing. The authorization code will come to you via email and the reference number sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Once you have those numbers, you can fill out your patent application, review it, submit it and make your payment.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Dawson, a journalist and part-time professor, is the author of this article about applying for a patent. In this article, he gathered his resources from Innovative Product Design, an invention and patent company, and you can visit, http://how-to-patent-an-idea.net, for more information.