There are many myths surrounding the concept of patenting an idea. Some say it cannot be done, but they are partially mistaken. An idea can be patented if it follows a set of qualifications outlined by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). If you are an entrepreneur, you maybe especially interested in learning how to patent an idea. Thankfully, we have outlined the process for you. If you want to learn how to patent an idea, follow these steps to a new patent.
Step 1: Ensure That Your Idea Is Eligible
Before you can start filing for a patent, you must first ensure that your idea is legally eligible to be patented. If you are truly interested in learning how to patent an idea, you may have already come across the USPTO guidelines. In general, a patent can only be given to something that “invents or discovers new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” This means that your idea cannot simply be an abstract thought. Similar to good small business ideas, there must be a potential for concrete application of that idea in the future. As long as your idea adheres to these guidelines, you can continue learning how to patent an idea.
Step 2: Conduct A Patent Search
Once you have determined that your idea is eligible, you must conduct some research. It has happened to everyone at some point: you come up with a brilliant idea for a dating app and not even two days later that app is making millions for someone else who came up with it first. You may be disappointed with the results, but it is important that you ensure that your idea is 100% original. You do not want to deal with trademark infringement or illegal patent use. If someone else has already patented the same idea, you will have to try to license the patent from the owner, attempt to acquire the patent or return to the drawing board. There are plenty of resources available for someone who wants to conduct a patent search. Use some of USPTO’s searchable databases to make the job that much easier.
Step 3: Find Resources
Now that you are well on your way to turning your idea into a patent, you will need to start thinking about your resources. Although we can tell you the general ins and outs of how to patent an idea, it is still a legal process that may require some assistance from qualified professionals. Patent attorneys may be hired to represent you throughout the process in order to ensure that your patent is registered successfully. However, this will add on to the already hefty cost of applying for a patent. USPTO fees can reach thousands of dollars very quickly. Research some of the resources available to entrepreneurs who wish to file a patent. There may be legal options for low income applicants, or you may find that there is a program or organization that is willing to invest in your idea.
Step 4: File The Paperwork
The final step to patenting an idea is to file the paperwork. This may seem like a simple instruction or a tedious process, but it is actually a lengthy patent application process. First, you must determine what type of patent you need. Is it a design patent? A utility patent? A plant patent? These varieties should have come up in your previous research. Now, you have to categorize your idea so that you can file the proper paperwork. Next, you will have to fill out several forms. The forms include documents for a provisional patent or one for a non-provisional patent, before you can officially apply. Be sure to conduct all of the necessary forms are so that you can finally begin to patent your idea.
Learning how to patent an idea is important for any budding entrepreneur. If you understand the guidelines of the USPTO and have done your research, you may be ready to patent your idea. By completing these steps, you can patent your idea to make stellar profits in the future.
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