You have a great idea and a great design, but inventions are only a thing to be stolen until they are a thing to be patented. Don’t let your intellectual property be stolen! We want you to make money off your brilliance. We encourage every client that comes to us with a great idea to patent their design. Patenting your product design protects you from conceptual theft. Patents grant you, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States.
It is common to get a little jumpy when facing a great invention. You might be tempted to cut corners, or overlook simple steps. Laying the foundation is always an important part of every process.
Do Your Research
We could fall asleep counting the amount of times we have come up with an idea that is already patented. For this reason, BEFORE you go through additional trouble, check and double check whether your design idea has been patented already. This is the time to be detail oriented. Know the differences between your design idea and similar patents. Do a search of all previous public disclosures and of printed publications and foreign patents. We suggest checking out the United States Patent & Trademark Office for additional tips for searching for existing patents.
Also take time to research whether your design idea is able to be patented.
Who can get a patent?
The U.S. Patent & Trademark reports that any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent.”
What can get a patent?
Terminology in patent law requires that the subject matter must be “useful.” This means the machine, process, composition of matter, or manufacture must be operational for a specified and obvious purpose. Abstract ideas are not patentable matter. You cannot receive a patent for an idea of a machine that performs a function. A detailed and complete description of an actual new machine, manufacture, etc is required to obtain a patent.
Don’t Do This Alone
It is common for small businesses or personal inventors to get discouraged from hiring an attorney for establishing their patent. However, we highly recommend you hire an attorney or patent agent. No matter your financial situation, this is not a risk you want to take. If you are a personal inventor or small business there are options for you that allow you to get very low cost or free attorney patent services.
The two main options for attaining cheap or free legal assistance in securing your patent are
- The Law School Clinic Certification Program: This program allows law students in participating schools to gain practice submitting patent applications and working alongside clients. You, as the client, have to be accepted by the school for their program. A lot of times this is a win-win situation. You are provided with an educated professional who is studying law in this specific field and they are provided with the ability to practice a real client case.
- Patent Pro Bono Program: Depending on your income, knowledge, and invention you may qualify for free legal assistance through the Patent Pro Bono Program. This program is nationwide. A network of independent regionally operated programs match you, the inventor/small business with a volunteer patent professional.
Unless you have extensive experience or expertise, hiring a professional to help you with securing your patent is important. Creating a successful patent is part of building a solid foundation for your product to be successful.
We love supporting inventors and small business in their product development. If you have a product idea or project, let us know!