How one can Patent an Thought: A Step-by-Step Information


Think about you will have a real million-dollar thought. , an actual world-changer. What would you do? Throw it on Shopify and begin promoting ASAP? Bury all proof within the woods behind your home? You would possibly wish to shield your mental property by getting a US patent.

The patent software course of might be intimidating in its issues. That will help you navigate the patent course of, we’ll cowl all the things it’s essential learn about tips on how to patent an thought, together with how patents work, why it is best to patent an thought, and the drawbacks of the patent course of. Lastly, we’ll stroll you thru the 5 steps to safe your patent.

Desk of Contents

Can You Patent an Thought?

To patent an thought, you should full the US patent software course of, which incorporates proving to a registered patent agent that your thought is progressive or totally different sufficient that it deserves patent rights.

However, should you solely have an thought and it doesn’t meet some key standards when it comes to its use and originality, then you definitely received’t be capable to get a patent. The USPTO desires individuals who have some distinctive thought to guard to get a patent, not amateurs who wish to make a fast buck off a half-baked idea.

For those who’re nonetheless within the “thought” section., your greatest guess is to validate your thought and be certain that there’s a marketplace for your online business. When you’ve developed your thought into one thing extra concrete, it’s possible you’ll be prepared for a patent.

Don’t Skip: Incorporating Your Enterprise – The Why and How of It

Why You Want a Patent

Patents shield your concepts as mental property and forestall your opponents from with the ability to take your thought and use it for revenue. Patents are awarded for novel improvements (there are 4 classes of patentable materials, which we’ll cowl later) and designed to make sure that innovators can market their improvements and innovations with out being copied.

Why do you want a patent? Take into account the case of Elisha Grey, the inventor of an equipment that would transmit speech electrically—the phone. When Grey’s lawyer acquired to the patent workplace, he discovered that the exact same day a person named Alexander Graham Bell—who’d ultimately discovered AT&T on the again of his helpful invention—had patented the identical thought.

Apply for a patent early and keep away from repeating Grey’s mistake. Doing so can shield your future enterprise, make it simpler to at some point promote, and even make you ongoing income by way of licensing.

The Cons of Making use of for a Patent

There are some drawbacks to making use of for a patent. The patent course of might be advanced, technical, and tedious. The prices might be excessive (tens of 1000’s), and the method can take years.

Relying on how distinctive your invention is, it’s possible you’ll or might not want a patent. You would possibly, for instance, discover that branding and wonderful customer support present a stronger return on funding than submitting a utility patent.

In some instances, submitting a patent can truly enhance your danger of competitors moderately than decreasing it. Within the magnificence business, manufacturers draw back from securing patents for merchandise like anti-aging face lotions. They’d be required to reveal the precise system of the product in an effort to safe the patent, and most firms see this as a higher danger than the potential reward.

Finally, it’s a call that you’ll have to make based mostly in your business and invention or product design to find out the prices and advantages.

Options to Patenting an Thought

For those who’re not able to undergo the patent course of but and need short-term protections, listed here are some alternate options to patenting an thought:

What Is a Patent?

Patents are government-granted unique rights that an organization or particular person has over a product. They allow you to revenue from and handle the best way your product is used, marketed, and bought, however just for a particular time frame—typically 20 years.
After the patent interval expires, the safety ends, and the invention belongs to the “public area,” which implies anybody can use the invention as they see match with out worrying about patent infringement.

What Patents Do

Patents shield the mental property of your thought, supplying you with immunity over opponents who might wish to revenue from it as properly. When a competitor violates your mental property, you’ll be able to implement the suitable use of the patent.

You Can License Patents

The proprietor of a patent can license the patent to 3rd events. The proprietor can even promote the rights to the invention to a 3rd social gathering, making it the brand new proprietor of the patent with the identical advantages the unique inventor had.

Patent vs Copyright vs Trademark

Patents, copyrights, and emblems are all authorized protections for various types of mental property and totally different makes use of. A patent protects an thought. A trademark refers to a reputation, emblem, or design that distinguishes a sure enterprise from one other. Copyright protects unique works of authorship, like literary, dramatic, musical, and inventive works.

If your organization has a novel course of with a novel title that you simply wish to shield, you’ll be able to trademark its title so nobody can copy it. A great instance of a trademark could be if we wished to guard the title of our programs, or should you wished to guard the title of your organization.

Copyrights, in the meantime, act as a patent for the humanities. If you wish to shield your software program code, then copyright might be a good suggestion. In any other case, if in case you have a marketable product thought, a patent is your solely alternative. Sn-y4cs&t=5s

US vs. Worldwide Patents

Whereas the ideas simply defined are all just about the identical in all international locations, each has its personal patent legal guidelines, which may range relying on the product, what can qualify for a patent, and the best way a patent is enforced.

To simplify issues, we’ll focus this text on the patent-filing course of for the US. On the finish of this text, you will note some assets for different international locations.

US patents are awarded by the “United States Patent and Trademark Workplace” (USPTO). The USPTO’s objective is to “grant patents for the safety of innovations and to register emblems. It serves the pursuits of inventors and companies with respect to their innovations and company merchandise, and repair identifications.”

The 4 US Patent Sorts

There are 4 various kinds of US patents. To obtain an issued patent, your thought should qualify as one of many following.

1. Utility Patent

Utility patents could also be granted to anybody who invents or discovers a course of, product, machine, “composition of matter,” or any new and helpful enchancment thereof.

2. Design Patent

A design patent could also be granted to anybody who invents a brand new, unique, and decorative design for an article of manufacture.

3. Plant Patent

A plant patent could also be granted to anybody who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new plant selection.

4. Software program Patent

A software program patent could also be granted to anybody who invents a bit of software program

On this information, we’ll stroll you thru the patent-filing course of for utility patents. For those who’re an ecommerce entrepreneur who desires to develop a brand new product, then that is the patent to file.

How one can File an Worldwide Patent

This information is proscribed in scope to US patents. Patent regulation in different international locations varies wildly. That will help you navigate the method, listed here are some assets for different international locations:

Earlier than You Start: Rent a Specialist

The patent course of is kind of difficult, and to finish the ultimate step, you want a lawyer. It’s advisable that you simply contemplate hiring a specialist that will help you by way of your utility patent software. Your complete patent submitting course of can overextend most individuals, and crucially, a US lawyer must file your patent software.

Even in case you are a lawyer, except you’re skilled with patents, you’ll have a tough time following each process. As Michael Cohen, principal lawyer on the Los Angeles-based agency Cohen IP Legislation, says, “The actually greatest [sic] technique to enhance the percentages of approval is by hiring an skilled patent lawyer to arrange and oversee the complete strategy of the patent software.”

There are lots of of patent regulation specialists in each nation on the earth. Earlier than you begin working in your patent submitting process, begin researching in your space for a patent lawyer (or agency) who may also help you. Be sure you ask for some references. It would be best to converse with different individuals who have gone by way of your course of to see how that agency helped them file their patent.

Learn extra: Your Information to Product Packaging Design and Technique

How one can Patent an Thought: Step-by-Step Utility Patent Directions

It takes a median of three years to get a utility patent from the start to the top of the patent. To safe a patent, you should full the patent submitting course of, what can also be referred to as “patent prosecution.” The USPTO does supply expediting companies for extra charges and if sure necessities are met, which may dramatically cut back the time interval to about one 12 months.

Right here’s what to anticipate from the patent course of:

  • The preliminary preparation of the patent software might take weeks and even months relying upon the complexity, who’s drafting it, and whether or not the inventor can present enough data to adequately disclose the invention.
  • After it’s ready it’s then filed with the US Patent and Trademark Workplace (USPTO). The precise submitting is fast and usually finished electronically, and you’ll instantly obtain a patent serial quantity which implies the invention is “patent pending.”
  • Your software will probably be obtained by a patent examiner. This step usually takes a 12 months or extra.
    As soon as it’s reviewed, the examiner routinely rejects the appliance in what known as an “workplace motion.”
  • A response must be made by the applicant or lawyer. In any other case, the appliance will turn out to be deserted.
  • It’s widespread to obtain a second or third rejection (bringing the entire course of to round 3 years).

With this fundamental overview of the patent submitting course of, let’s undergo the precise steps you’ll must take to get a patent in the US.

Step 1: Do a Patent Search

Step one in the direction of getting a patent is to look the United States Patent and Trademark Workplace’s patent database to seek out related concepts which have already been patented. On their homepage, hover over the “Patents” button and click on on “PatFT.”

You’ll be able to search the database to seek out previous and current patents. Below “Time period 1,” add a time period associated to your product.

The outcomes will doubtless carry many outcomes. It’s greatest you strive a number of totally different phrases till you get near your thought. Since there are lots of leads to there, and plenty of received’t be associated to your product, it’s possible you’ll need assistance from an skilled that will help you analysis your area. Within the meantime, you’ll be able to open up current patents, analyzing the descriptions, and most significantly, the pictures that present the product itself.

As you carry in your analysis, be aware of the similarities and variations between your product thought and different patents. More than likely, you’ll discover innovations much like yours. If that’s the case, you’ll have to provide you with a superb clarification for why your invention is best than, or a minimum of totally different, from those that you simply discovered.

Step 2: Select Your Patent-Submitting Course of

The patent-filing course of varies in accordance with whether or not you’re submitting for a provisional patent software (PPA) or a daily patent software (RPA).

A provisional patent software permits you to declare “patent pending” standing for the invention. By itself, such standing isn’t as efficient as having an actual patent behind your thought, however the primary profit is that it requires a lot much less work and cash than an RPA. What’s extra, the standing helps you construct credibility over your product.

The Advantages of a Common Patent Utility

Usually, you can be greatest served by placing all of your vitality in the direction of finishing a strong common patent software. Michael Feigin, a patent lawyer from New Jersey-based Feigin & Fridman, strongly recommends this method.

“Submitting for a PPA appears like a price saving to file a provisional patent software, however it’s normally not as a result of it means you’re submitting twice. The primary time, you’ll be submitting one thing lower than full, solely to pay your lawyer to do it a second time the suitable approach. You can simply file one patent software which is full and full on the outset.
What’s extra, submitting a provisional tends to point out an absence of route or seriousness. There are restricted circumstances the place they’re helpful (e.g. you wish to get one thing filed earlier than you must make a public disclosure and there isn’t a lot time) however I usually don’t suggest them.”

The Advantages of a Provisional Patent Utility

A daily patent software, then again, comes with a barrage of submitting necessities, which I’ll clarify in Step 5. Some specialists suggest beginning with a provisional patent software whilst you work in your common patent software. Stephen Kay, who has patented over 20 concepts, recommends this as a result of:

  • Provisional patent functions are cheaper to file.
  • You shield your thought for 12 months.
  • You’ll be able to check the concept out there.
  • You’ll have time to arrange your paperwork and enhance your “pitch” to the USPTO.

To file for a provisional patent software, it’s essential:

  • Pay the patent price, which ranges from $65 for “micro-entities” to $130 for small entities to $260 for big firms (extra data on these classes right here).
  • Present an in depth description of the invention.
  • Clarify tips on how to use the invention/product.
  • Present a casual drawing.

Step 3: Make Positive Your Patent Thought Is Eligible

As excited as it’s possible you’ll be about your thought, just a few sorts truly qualify for a patent.
The patent statute 35 USC 101 tells us {that a} patent might be given to any “new and helpful course of, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and helpful enchancment thereof is eligible for patent safety.”

Meaning, your thought have to be:

  1. Helpful
  2. Novel
  3. Non-obvious


In accordance with US regulation, “Helpful refers back to the situation that the subject material has a helpful objective and likewise contains operativeness, that’s, a machine which is not going to function to carry out the supposed objective wouldn’t be referred to as helpful, and subsequently wouldn’t be granted a patent. ”
In case your thought can’t show to be helpful, whether or not which means it makes your buyer’s life simpler, sooner, cheaper, or brings any sort of tangible consequence, you’ll be able to’t patent it.


Novel mainly means nobody has ever patented earlier than. Because the statute goes:

” An invention can’t be patented if:

  1. The claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or in any other case out there to the general public earlier than the efficient submitting date of the claimed invention” or
  2. The claimed invention was described in a patent issued or in an software for patent revealed or deemed revealed , during which the patent or software, because the case could also be, names one other inventor and was successfully filed earlier than the efficient submitting date of the claimed invention. “

In case your thought has existed earlier than or has been patented, you’ll be able to’t patent it. For instance, you couldn’t patent a cappuccino or a frappuccino as a result of, within the former case, they’ve existed for a very long time, and within the latter case, as a result of they exist already and have been patented .


Non-obvious implies that it could’t be “an oral presentation at a scientific assembly, an illustration at a commerce present, a lecture or speech, a press release made on a radio discuss present, a YouTube™ video, or a web site or different on-line materials .”

Meaning you’ll be able to patent something that’s actual—a weblog publish or a Powerpoint presentation that mentions your thought can’t be patented. As a rule of thumb, the extra helpful, novel, and non-obvious your thought is, the upper the probability of being patentable.

Step 4: Submit the Patent Utility

An entire common patent software (RPA) ought to include the weather listed under:

  • A patent software type
  • The suitable patent charges
  • An software knowledge sheet (see 37 CFR § 1.76)
  • The product’s specs
  • Drawings (when needed)
  • An executed oath or declaration (extra data in right here)

Mainly, you wish to describe your invention and spotlight its benefits with essentially the most quantity of element you’ll be able to. You wish to clarify how your thought fills a market want.
As you’ll be able to see, that features gathering and submitting numerous documentation, so make sure to meticulously monitor your progress and save any drawings, specs, modifications, concepts, and so on., and collect them as much as strengthen your case.

Step 5: Await the Patent

After you file your software, don’t anticipate a fast response from the USPTO. It might take a 12 months or longer earlier than you hear again, particularly if there are different innovations much like yours.

Once you do obtain a response, it most definitely received’t be an approval. A typical purpose for denial will probably be that your thought has an excessive amount of in widespread with earlier innovations. Possibly they’ll contemplate it’s not as helpful nor novel or that you simply didn’t describe it with sufficient element.

Regardless of the case, while you get a denial, your lawyer should work with you to deal with the problem at hand and resubmit the patent a second (or third) time.

How A lot Does It Price to Patent an Thought?

The patent submitting charges can vary between $75 for “micro-entities,” which I discussed earlier than, to $10,000 for sure submissions. To that, it’s essential add:

  • Patent search charges
  • Analysis charges
  • Examination
  • Submit-allowances charges

An in depth USPTO’s charges listing might be discovered right here. What’s extra, it’s essential embrace your lawyer’s charges, which may shortly rise to the tens of 1000’s or extra.

General, if in case you have a one-member company or one with few individuals in it, you’ll be able to anticipate to pay the smaller spectrum of the charges, which may go as much as $300. However should you add all the opposite prices I’ve simply talked about, the entire prices can go as much as $5,000 or extra.

It’s onerous to say beforehand what these prices will probably be; it’s greatest you discuss to individuals who have patented concepts already or discuss with a patent lawyer to allow them to provide you with a greater estimation. Given these prices, an entrepreneur might wonder if it is sensible to pay for such an costly process. Cohen says,

“The ROI is just not a one measurement matches all reply. In some instances, relying upon the business and the invention, the ROI of the patent could also be kind of than in others. For instance, with most startup firms, a patent software will probably be needed not just for future enforcement causes, but in addition as a prerequisite for many buyers of their analysis of the worth of the invention. On the finish of the day, the choice to bear the prices of the patent needs to be severely considered earlier than you resolve to start out the submitting course of.”

How one can Implement Your Patent

You probably have discovered somebody is utilizing your product-or the concept behind it-without your consent, you can begin with a cease-and-desist letter. If the one who’s violating your patent doesn’t cease, you’ll have to open a patent infringement case. As a result of patent infringement isn’t against the law, you’ll have to begin a civil lawsuit in a federal civil courtroom.

You’d be the “plaintiff,” and the infringer could be the “defendant.” As a plaintiff in a patent case, you’ll rent a patent litigator to characterize you. Your patent lawyer received’t have the option that will help you as they solely work on submitting, not implementing.

Similar to your patent submission, a patent infringement case might be prolonged and costly. The excellent news is which you can make your a refund from the cash invested in creating and patenting your product.

Maintain Studying: Enterprise Emblems 101 – Registering Names, Logos, and Phrases

Why Go By the Patent Course of?

For those who consider the licensing of your thought is well worth the cash, or in case your buyer analysis has proven you individuals desperately want your product, submitting a patent might be a good suggestion.

However, should you’re getting the patent to point out off or get some social proof behind your model, it’s most likely not one of the best resolution.

Are you desirous about submitting a patent and beginning a enterprise? Discover our free coaching collection for an all-access cross to all the things it’s essential begin and scale your online business from scratch.

Learn from the best banner


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *