How to Patent an Idea?
How to patent an idea? Can you patent an idea? If you also have the same questions in mind, we’ve got you covered! Before you think to patent an idea, first, determine whether the idea is patentable (i.e., whether it is completely new and non-obvious).
1. Have your concept checked/verified
A patentability search can be used to validate the concept. In general, the patentability search is carried out to identify previously issued patents or other relevant publications that are similar to or close to the idea. If there is anything similar to your invention, your idea is not novel, and you will not be granted a patent for it.
As a result, the search will save the inventor a lot of money and time. Above all, the concept must have a practical application and be applicable. Natural discoveries are not patentable. If the idea is completely new, non-obvious, and meets all of the criteria for a patent, the inventor can file a patent for the idea.
2. Keeping an Idea Log
The inventor could well write down the things related to the idea on paper or in a word document that will help them understand the idea better. They can begin by writing down the challenges that the idea will solve. The inventor can include sections such as what problems the idea solves, what the components of the construction are, how the idea differs from others, the benefits of the idea, key elements of the invention’s schematic diagram, a rough sketch, how the idea can be utilized (in the best possible way), and so on.
They can also keep a notebook record of how they came up with the idea. A well-kept record will provide proof that the inventor came up with the idea first. He should keep a record as early as possible in order to protect the idea.
Digital files will assist the inventor in establishing a claim to the invention or idea. Every page must be signed and dated. Make one or more people to sign the idea if possible. He should have them sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for what they have seen. This agreement will assist the inventor in preventing the idea from leaking. The NDA will state that the inventor owns the work done on the idea.
3. Prototype Development
Before applying for a patent, the inventor should create a prototype. All of the features in the inventor’s notebook are displayed in the prototype or model. It should be a touchable model that can be shown to others. This prototype assists the inventor in identifying flaws or areas for improvement that were not discovered when the idea was written in a notebook or journal. For a patent, the inventor is not required to create a prototype. However, the prototype benefits the inventor in a variety of ways. The inventor learns about the functionality of the invention through the use of a prototype.
A prototype assists the inventor in determining where the idea can be improved. Instructions can be used to build the prototype. First, make a rough sketch of your idea diagram in a notebook. Create a carbon copy of the three-dimensional model. Finally, create a computer-readable working model. The prototype informs the inventor whether the innovation will work or if more work is required. If it becomes challenging for the inventor to construct a prototype, the drawing or idea must be reconsidered. The prototype will provide you with a detailed description of the patentable idea.
4. Submission of a Provisional Application
If the inventor requires more time to prepare a full application, he or she can file a provisional application to protect the idea. The provisional application does not require a formal patent claim, declaration, oath, or any disclosure requirements. A specification, i.e., a description, the title of the invention, drawing(s) of the invention, and so on, are included in the provisional application.
The provisional application protects your idea or invention for one year, after which the inventor must file a non-provisional application containing all of the material not accessible in the provisional application.
Another benefit of filing a provisional application is that it is less expensive. The provisional application costs less than the actual (non-provisional) application. The date on which you file is critical. This is because the “first-to-file” rule applies in the United States. When you file a provisional application, you will receive a priority date for your invention.
5. Obtaining the Services of a Patent Attorney
Because the patent process is difficult, it is recommended that you hire a patent attorney to assist you with the process. A patent attorney can assist you in simplifying the patent process, and their fees are reasonable. The patent attorney should assist the inventor in mitigating the risk of financial loss associated with the process. If this is your first time filing an application, you should consult with a patent attorney. With their assistance, you will be assured that you are doing everything correctly, and you will save a significant amount of time.
The patent attorney should have prior experience in filing patent applications and therefore should understand whether or not the idea is patentable. A patent attorney will advise the inventor in difficult future events that the inventor could never have imagined. To prevent the idea from leaking, the inventor must sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with the patent attorney. When you generously pay an attorney, you expect them to be efficient and helpful in every situation.
6. Filing a Non-Provisional Application
When you have completed your research, you can now file a non-provisional application. This can be done either offline or online. The title of the invention, drawings, claims, a detailed description of the invention, an abstract, and a summary of the invention should all be included in the application. The non-provisional application also includes examination fees, an oath, a declaration, and other documents.
The claims are the most important aspect of this application. The scope of the invention will be described in the claims. It is critical to draft the claim carefully because one or two words can change the meaning of the claim and cause it to be inconsistent with the invention. The independent claim should be part of the overall concept.
7. Pre-grant Application Publication
Following receipt of the application, it will be published as soon as the 18-month period from the earliest filing date expires. If the applicant requests it, the application can be published before the 18-month period from the earliest filing date. An application will not be published if it is no longer pending, and there are numerous other conditions that will prevent the application from being published. Only if the application is published can it be considered prior art. The examiner can use this published application to deny other parties’ applications based on similar inventions.
8. Examining and Rejecting
When the non-provisional application is received by the patent office, the examiner will place it in a queue for examination. When the examiner reviews your non-provisional application, he will look for prior patent applications, prior patents, and other sources of prior art to ascertain whether the inventor’s invention is novel and meets the criteria for patentability.
Some claims may be rejected by the examiner based on the prior art search. When objections or rejections are discovered, the examiner will send an office action explaining why the rejections were made.
The inventor or a lawyer hired by the inventor may respond to the examiner’s office action. They can write down a response to the office action that changes or amends the phrasing of the claims and/or makes arguments on behalf of the inventor as to why the application should be considered for patent issuance. If the examiner is persuaded by the response, the patent is granted.
9. Patent Granted for Publishing
If the examiner grants the applicant a patent, the patent will be published. If you are granted a patent, no other individual, member, or company may use, manufacture, or sell the claimed invention. Third parties are permitted to file an opposition to the granted patent within a specified time frame on the basis that the patent does not meet the patentability requirements.