Inventing Tips

Help to keep you moving forward with your big ideas!

Patent My Idea

What is a patent?

A patent is a licence granted to an inventor for a specific time. A patent protects a new idea by giving the individual the right to prevent others from making, importing or selling the invention without prior permission.

So how do i get a patent?

The first step is to conduct a worldwide patent search to see if the idea has already been patented. You do not want to waste many months waiting for the patent application only to be told that the idea has been patented by someone else.

What is a patent search?

It is a search carried out to establish if an idea or invention has already been patented. To be taken seriously by industry this needs to done by an expert patent researcher who carries out a thorough worldwide search using specialised techniques such as classification code systems and patent cross referencing. This patent search uses worldwide databases which are not accessible to the individual inventor.

Why have a professional patent search conducted?

o An advance patent search can save the inventor a large amount of time and money at this stage of the process if a match is found and a patent cannot be obtained. It is better to establish this as soon as possible to minimize time and money spent on an idea that is not original.

o The idea may be an improvement on existing ‘prior art’ which could still be patentable. Therefore you would need to do the search to find all similar patents and then draft the application accordingly.

o A complete report is provided showing that a professional patent search has taken place on the specified invention. The report will provide the results from the search which can be used for the next stage of the invention process. i.e. you now know what areas of your idea need changing if they conflict with existing patents or which areas to focus on and further develop as they are truly original.

o Potential investors will expect a patent search to have been conducted.

o If the invention is found to be original through the patent search, it will help the success of the patent application, which is vital at this stage for the success of the idea.

Interpreting the results of a patent search

The results will always be useful either if the invention was found to be original or not. Results can be used for re-working and developing the invention. However the language used in patents can be difficult to understand and it is often hard to understand the implications of the results. Therefore it is important that any patent search that you commission comes with a discussion with an expert in the field of patenting and inventions to discuss the results.

Inventors need to be aware that there is no guarantee that when a patent search takes place that all prior inventions will be detectable. The patent office has a large amount of processing applications which have not yet been entered on the database. It may also be that an application has been filed but not yet published. However it is still an essential stage.

Can I now patent my idea?

Now that a patent search has been conducted the inventor might choose to submit a patent application to the patent office. However it is likely that having looked at the results of the patent search some development needs to be done on the idea. This might be adapting the idea so that it does not conflict with any other patents or further developing the truly original aspects of the idea.

The Patent application

The patent application is the document submitted to the patent office to acquire a patent on an idea. Now the patent search has been completed and the idea has been developed, an application can be submitted to the patent office. This can be self filed or done by a professional patent agent. Application forms are available from the US Patent Office. It is an important document and so it may prove worthwhile to submit it through a professional patent attorney.

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