Obtaining a patent is the fundamental way to protect your idea or invention. Although the patent process can be intimidating with its formal application and rigid guidelines, you must navigate the process in order to safeguard your invention. The following tips can guide you through the rigorous patent process.
Document Your Idea
Before you begin the patent application, carefully document your idea. “Write down everything you can think of that relates to your invention, from what it is and how it works to how you’ll make and market it. This is the first step to patenting your idea and keeping it from being stolen.” (1) It’s critical to write your idea down in an inventor’s journal, and ask a witness to sign and date it once you’ve completed your document.
Research Your Idea
Many inventors rush into the patent process without researching whether there is a market for their invention. Take time to research similar products. Find out about manufacturing and material costs for your idea. In many cases, inventors conclude that there is little profitability associated with their proposed invention. The patent process is difficult and expensive. Therefore, before investing time and money, make sure that your idea is a viable one.
Inventors should consider working with an “international product development company designed to help individuals across the globe successfully protect, design and commercialize their new product ideas.” (2) Obtaining expert advice can be the difference between a successful patent application and one that fails.
Understand the Fees
When you begin the patent process, be sure to understand the financial obligation that accompanies your quest for patent protection. You may also wish to figure in professional fees. Your development firm will be able to provide you with an outline of key figures to keep in mind. If you employ a patent attorney, be sure you obtain those fees up front too so you can get a complete picture for the cost of your patent.
Follow these tips for a smooth patent application process. By keeping them in mind, you can more effectively set up your invention for success.
1. Entrepreneur, “5 Steps to Turning Your Idea into a Product,” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77962
2. Innovate Product Design, “Applying for a Patent,” http://www.innovate-design.com/applying-for-protection-of-my-invention/