How to Patent an Idea?


You spend hours and days working on an app related to meditation. It helps to calm your mind and bring back your focus. You finally succeed in presenting your idea and you launch it. After a successful launch, people love it, and you are getting a great response to it. You have spent a lot of money on the development of the app and you someone copying your app and becoming your competitor, not less than a nightmare, right?

You can’t take any legal action against the person who is infringing on your idea unless you have the legal right to do so. So, yes, you can attain this right. Patenting your idea is a way to safeguard your invention from infringing.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a legal document providing legal protection to the inventor for a certain period of time. Patent grant is provided by the country in which the inventor wants the protection. The inventor writes an application to the respective patent office, for example, if he wants to protect his invention in the US, then he submits this application to the United Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The patent gives the ownership rights to the inventor and he can use the idea in various ways and can also get monetary benefits out of it. This encourages the inventors to safeguard their inventions as the advantages provided by it are a lot, the inventor can sell, make, license, etc. the patented idea. It is a part of intellectual property that saves certain inventions whereas artisans’ work can be protected by copyright and brands protect their identity by trademarks which are also branches of intellectual property.

Why it is Important to Patent your Invention?

Patent Idea
Fig.1: Why is it Important to patent your invention?

It is important to patent your invention because of the benefits it provides you.

  • It gives you sole ownership rights for a particular period of time (20 years in most cases). The invention is treated in your name and no one else can make it theirs without your permission.
  • Patent can be a great source of revenue for your business as you can license your patent or give it on lease.
  • You can make your business out of it or use to grow.
  • You can sell it to any other person, persons or company.

Can I Patent any Idea?

There are certain conditions and rules to patent your invention. Not all types of inventions are patentable and not all ideas are patentable. The idea should have taken the form of an invention before it gets patentable otherwise it’s not patentable. The person should be able to describe the idea in a fully functional manner and he should have the capacity to turn the idea into an invention. The invention also has some conditions to get to the part where it is patentable, below mentioned are a few of them:

  • The invention should be novel in itself. It is important that the invention is new and no prior-art exists. The inventor should be able to prove the uniqueness of the invention.
  • The invention should not just be the modified version of an existing product or service.
  • It must be non-obvious. The invention shouldn’t be an obvious one, it should have some advanced meaning to it.
  • It must be useful. An invention of no use to any kind is not patentable. It should add value in some or another way.
  • Natural things if discovered by you are not inventions and hence are not patentable. For example, if you discover that kite moves in the direction of wind then that is not an invention. It is an obvious thing and also a natural phenomenon.
  • Automatic machines for the existing devices cannot be patented. Agricultural or horticulture methods are also not patentable.

So, some inventions or ideas having the above traits are not patentable. 

Before moving ahead, it is important to understand the types of patents. There are basically three types of patents which we will discuss below:

  1. Utility Patent: Utility patent is the most common type of patent. It covers almost all types of inventions. This patent covers procedures, methods, products, etc. This patent helps the inventor to protect their invention from third-party authorization and gives ownership rights to the individual.
  2. Design Patent: Design patent gives exclusive rights to the inventor for protecting their designs. This patent protects the inventors for their innovative designs. The design of an iPhone, jewellery, plate, etc. are examples of inventions that can be covered under a design patent.
  3. Plant Patent: These inventions, as the name suggests are related to plants. Plant patent covers newly invented plants developed through the process of asexual reproduction like vegetation, propagation, etc. When you discover something that is not natural and you make a new discovery in a plant, you can get a plant patent.

So, before you decide to patent your invention, you should describe which type of patent you want based on the above types.  

Whenever you think that your idea has successfully turned into an invention and check all the conditions to get a patent, you are ready to get along with the patent process. Getting a patent is a long process that can get hectic at times. Here you have two choices, either to do it yourself or to hire a professional to do the whole process. There are a lot of things to do to get a patent and it is advisable to hire professional services for it.

If you decide to do the process yourself then it is very important to be fully aware of the rules and guidelines suggested by the USPTO and do everything within that boundary, otherwise, the consequences can be long and involve great cost and efforts.

If you decide to hire a professional, then it might cost you more in form of agent fees but it will make your task much easier. It involves the following steps:

1. Invention Disclosure

When you hire a professional to work on your patent, you must disclose your invention to him. It is important that you describe your invention in detail and don’t keep anything as it would cause a problem at a later stage and you might get a rejection or office action n. Office action is the document by the patent examiner to suggest the required changes in the application. The idea should be clear in all aspects and nothing should be excluded.

2.Patent Searches

The patent expert knows very well how to take care of all the activities that need to be performed before you go to the patent office with your application. The patent attorney is an expert in analyzing if the invention is patentable or not. There are certain searches that need to be performed before you go to the patent office like patentability search and prior-art search. Let us understand these two searches in detail:

  • Patentability Search: This search is performed to check that your invention is novel and is also known as novelty search. This ensures that your invention is new, has unique features, and doesn’t resemble any previous invention. This search helps to save a lot of costs that will otherwise get wasted if we file an application just to get a rejection.

Related: How do I do Patent Searches?

If the results from this search are positive and it assures you that your invention is novel, then you can go ahead to the next step of the process. To prevent the consequences, it is very important to conduct a novelty search before filing for the patent.

You can always make better claims as you get aware of various things when you do a novelty search. It helps the inventor to make better claims that he might still be missing to cover in the application. This also helps to determine the value of the invention and you can make the best of your patent by properly claiming and evaluating.

It requires a lot of time as it’s not only limited to going for Google patent search and other such methods but a wide search in the subject matter, so only a professional experienced in the same can do it.

  • Prior-Art Search: Novelty search is conducted to check that no prior art already exists. A prior-art search is conducted to study the inventions close to your invention. It helps to ascertain the position of your invention that you have created and there is no new invention. While you develop the invention, there might be similar inventions coming up in the picture during that time period. So, it is important to know about all the existing inventions in detail.

Related: Patenting an Idea? Know the meaning of Prior-Art Search

3.Filing of Application

When you are done with the searches and are satisfied that your idea is patentable, you can file a patent application to the respective patent office. If you decide otherwise, that is you find an error with the idea and your invention is not patentable or there is any prior-art then you can step back and not file the application.

You draft a patent application after you decide to file for a patent. The patent drafting process is also initiated by a patent agent as they are experts in it. They know how to present the application in a way that doesn’t violate any rules set by the patent office and also explains the invention in a specified manner. It is very important to know the legal and technical aspects of the invention in order to prepare the patent application.

Related: How to Prepare Right Patent Application?

4.Patent Application Review

After you are done with writing the patent application, it is important to review it. Not just the patent agent but it should be reviewed by the inventor himself to make sure that no changes are required in it. The authority of the patent will always lie with the inventor and to have control over the invention, it is important for the inventor to do this step himself as well.

Related: Understanding Nitty-Gritty of Design Patent Application?

5.Request the patent office

Apply for the patent at the patent office through USPTO’s Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web). It is an easier way to do the process. You can do things online at the comfort of home, submit your application and documents you are required to submit through online mode. You can do the required process with the help of the patent agent as it is long process too required sign up, adding all the relevant information related to the invention, etc. Request the patent office to examine your application and review it for the patent grant or any iteration.

6.Working on Review

After a thorough check of your application, the examiner replies to you either with an office action or a grant. The review process at the patent office takes time as the patent examiner critically analyzes everything related to patent.

If you get an office action, then you must work on the application as per the review. During searches, a lot of things come up, and to prove the point of an office action, that might be a novelty, then those assessments can be used.

When you successfully work again on your invention, you will get the patent grant and get the benefit of the patent for 20 years and after that you can renew the patent if you want.

One thing to consider while making the patent application is patent drawings, and that is what PatSketch is all about. Patent Drawings play a very important role in making your application, a success! They help to virtually explain the functioning of the invention to the patent examiner. There are three types of patent drawings:

  1. Utility Patent Drawings: These drawings are included in the utility patent application and help to explain the process, method, functioning, etc. of the invention. Flow diagrams, electric circuits, chemical formulas, etc. They make the patent application more presentable and improve the scope of getting a patent grant. Each part of the invention can be easily presented through utility patent drawings.
  2. Design Patent Drawings: These drawings are included in the design patent application and help to showcase the design of the invention. The drawings included in this can be of jewelry, ornaments, mobile phones, crockery, etc. In such inventions, drawings play a major role as the inventor is going to the patent office to patent his designs only. It is thus important to add drawings in the design patent application that clearly explains the appearance of the invention to the patent examiner.
  3.  Plant Patent Drawings: The inventions related to plant discovery are illustrated through plant patent drawings. The references are generally not made in this, colored or black & white drawings can be used to make plant patent drawings. But as first preference, black & white drawings are recommended.

So, these drawings are important in making your patent application successful and improving the scope of getting patent approval.

Also read: Patent Illustration Work: How to Create a Perfect Disclosure?

Patent drawings are prepared by professional illustrators who are experts in this as there is a set of guidelines by the USPTO that needs to be fulfilled to prepare the patent drawings. Some of them are listed below:

Patent drawings are prepared by professional illustrators who are experts in this as there is a set of guidelines by the USPTO that needs to be fulfilled to prepare the patent drawings. Some of them are listed below:

  • Size of the sheet should be A4-sized (29.7 cm x 21 cm), which is the recommended size without any exception.
  • There is a marginal requirement of the sheet which is top and left side 2.5 cm, right side 1.5 cm, and bottom 1 cm. These are the minimum margins that should be drawn on the sheets and the surface that can be used should be of dimension 26.2 cm x  17 cm.
  • The words that can be used are limited that is one or two and you can’t keep a whole text on drawings to explain them.
  • Only black and white drawings should be used, i.e, black inks should be used on white sheets to make the drawings. In rare cases, colored drawings can be used only with a valid reason and documentation to do so.
  • Each drawing should be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals and each should also be numbered consecutively.
  • The height of the numbers should be a minimum of 0.32 cm, so that the examiner understands what’s written.
  • There can be more than 1 drawing on a sheet and unnecessary empty spaces should not be left. Drawings should be clear and there should not be overlapping.

These rules help to keep all the drawings in a particular format and symmetry in all the drawings. They help in making the patent application presentable.

Related: Why Should you Always Hire a Technical Patent Illustrator?

Overview

Patent protection is very important to protect your idea and make it a successful invention. You can make it count only when you protect it with a patent. You can hold the ownership, help your business to grow. For getting a patent you should make relevant efforts so that you can get the patent grant, hire professionals to do the task so that you don’t have to put in so much efforts to study and to make professional decisions. Professionals exactly know what to do and how to make an application so that it is approved.

Patent drawings play an important role in making your application clearer to the examiner as they create the visual artwork of the invention. They make better claims for the invention. They save a lot of costs by easier grants.

Get the best services at PatSketch

PatSketch provides the best patent drawings services which help you rightly present you invention to the USPTO. We make sure to make each penny count by providing unlimited iteration till you are satisfied. Customer satisfaction is of atmost priority. Our services are designed to support patent agents and patent attorneys at law firms and corporations. We provide various types of services such as Utility Patent Drawings, Design Patent Drawings, Trademark Drawings, Patentability Searches, etc. Visit our page to know more services.

Our lowest prices are unbeatable where we even match the lowest prices. The expertise that we have helps to provide any output the way you want, in any format. Hurry up! To grab your drawings at the best price. We promise to provide you with quick deliveries. Contact us now for the relevant directions or any queries.

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Understanding the Difference Between Utility and Design Patent Drawings

Intellectual Property Paralegal for Patentability Search

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