Patenting your idea can be a tedious process, especially if you are not familiar with intellectual property. To start, it is important to make sure a patent is what you actually need—not a copyright or a trademark. What’s the difference? A patent granted by the U.S. government will acts as a prohibition against making, using, or selling any devices within the scope of the issued claims.
There are three different types of patents: a utility patent (a new and useful machine, process, etc.), a design patent (for ornamental designs) or plant patent (for a new and distinct variety of plant). Patents cannot be used to protect abstract ideas or artistic works, which may instead be eligible for copyright.
When you decide what kind of patent application you will need, you should write down every possible thing you can about your idea. Break down every element and feature as thoroughly as possible, leaving nothing to the imagination. What problem will your invention solve? What makes it different from the other devices you are aware of?
Once you have your invention clearly detailed and defined, you will need the help of a patent attorney to help guide you through the process. A patent attorney may suggest a patent search to locate any existing patents and prior art that may make your invention difficult to patent. Among other resources, a patent attorney may use www.uspto.gov as a search tool.
In addition, consider how you will sell your device. What is your market? Who will be interested in your product?
When it comes to searching patents, the assistance of a patent lawyer can save you a large deal of time and stress because they know the system and how it works.
Patenting your idea is challenging, and sometimes expensive, process. It is important to make sure you have a knowledgeable industry professional to mentor you through the process to avoid careless mistakes. For more information or to set up a consultation in the Largo or Clearwater areas, give us a call at Larson & Larson today: 727-546-0660.