How To Patent Your Invention

Find out the basics of how to patent your invention!

So you have invneted a new product. Now what do you do with it? How can you successfully protect yourself from others stealing your invention? Your first step is to get your invention patented.

What is a patent? A patent is an exclusive right to the inventor's property. That is, it excludes others from manufacturing, reproducing, and selling your invention for a set period of time.

There are actually three types of patents, and they are a utility patent, a design patent, and a plant patent. Different types of patents last for different time periods. Utility patents, which cover processes and machines, generally last for twenty years. Design patents, which are self-explanatory, generally last fourteen years, and a plant patent, which is for an inventor who has discovered and asexually reproduced any new variety of plants, generally lasts seventeen years. Once the prescribed time elapses, your patent expires, and your invention becomes public domain.



In order to apply for a patent, you simply contact the Patent Office and get the necessary application. There are fees you must pay when you submit your application and apply for your patent, and they are quite costly. So, you must be serious about your invention before you proceed further with it.

Notice the word "apply" for a patent application. There is simply no guarantee whatsoever that you will get a patent for your product. As soon as your application is sent to the Patent Office, it will be thoroughly examined by them. If your invention passes all of their scrutiny, and is found to be an original creation, and, you have paid all of the necessary fees, then your patent will be granted. But, on the other hand, if the Patent Office finds similiarities in your invention versus an already patented invention, you may be required to change your invention.

Anyone can obtain a patent, as long as their invention is not too close in structure, or, is not too similiar to another invention that has already been patented. Your invention must be new, and not just a spin-off of another patented product.

During the creation of your entire invention, from beginning to end, you should keep all of the documentation connected with your project. This documentation would include receipts as well as all of the information concerning your invention. You will need a drawing of your invention, with the date and your name marked on it too.

There are attorneys available who deal with only the law and patents. They are appropriately known as "Patent Attorneys" and can be located in the yellow pages of your local telephone book. A patent attorney can properly fill out your patent application. Or, if you fill it out yourself, he or she can proof read it to make sure it is correct and complete. He or she can also act as your agent when dealing with the Patent Office, especially if there are any disputes that need resolved. Patent attorneys are expensive, so, again, think carefully about if you really need one before you contract the services of one.

For more information, visit your local public library and check out some books about the legalities of inventing and getting your invention patented.

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