If you are researching how to patent an idea, you likely have a design for an invention that is new or innovative. It is not possible to register a patent for an idea alone, however. Inventors must actually produce or be able to produce the invention to register it with the USPTO. Utility patents can help inventors better understand where their idea fits in with filing requirements. For more personalized advice tailored to your concept, contact an intellectual property attorney at Larson and Larson in Largo, Florida.
Utility Patents: Turning an Idea into a Reality
As someone learning more about how to patent an idea, it is important to know what utility patents include. This covers a new or improved and useful creation of a process, product, or machine. When an inventor registers their patent with the USPTO, they get legal protection from any other entity that may attempt to use or sell their invention without permission. Utility is further divided into four subtypes:
- Process (a software or business process, for example)
- Machine (a device comprised of moving parts, such as a computer or vacuum cleaner)
- Articles of Manufacture (for example, a mug or a hammer)
- New Composition of Matter (pharmaceuticals or newly synthesized compounds, for example)
Your idea may, in fact, be some combination of these four categories. If you want to know more about how to patent an idea, think about how you can describe your creation using these four categories. If it does not fit in a single category or a combination, then you may need to consider developing your creation further.
As you research how to patent an idea, keep in mind that not everything can be patented. Inventions must be mostly concrete and not too abstract. Therefore, a mathematical formula that does not directly relate to a process or application cannot be patented. The invention must help someone with a process, physically do something, or otherwise make something useful.
Natural discoveries cannot be patented. If you discover a new species of insect while camping in Largo, even if you are the first to discover it, you cannot register a patent for it. For something to be patented, you as the inventor must alter it in some way, whether that is modifying it, purifying it, combining it, or incorporating it into something new and useful.
As an inventor, you will also need to define the scope of your invention. If your new composition of matter treats minor inflammation, but you suspect it could also cure cancer, the latter is merely a concept or speculation, not a defined scope.
Additionally, inventors who want to know how to patent an idea should know their invention must be completely new. Also, it must be non-obvious. No one can have made the exact same invention before. To be non-obvious, an invention must not be new in light of all the patented inventions and publications available.
Idea vs. Invention
If you are having a hard time determining if you have an idea or an invention, consider this: can you describe the intricacies of the concept in detail? If you have a machine, can you identify all of its parts and how they work together? Can you construct a physical, real-world model or example of the invention? The answers to questions like these will help those who are wondering how to patent an idea and whether their invention is patentable. The lines between an invention and a concept can be blurry. If you are struggling with the details, contact an intellectual property attorney in Largo for guidance and advice.
Wondering How to Patent an Idea? Consult Larson and Larson for Assistance
If you have a new or useful invention that you want to register with the USPTO for protection against infringement, contact the law firm of Larson and Larson in Largo for assistance. Our attorneys provide comprehensive advice and input for inventors that need help with pre-registration, registration, and litigation matters. Call our Largo office today at (727) 546-0660 or contact us online to discuss your options.