“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Some new inventions happen by accident while others were intended to happen. Whichever the case, one needs to protect their ideas. In a dynamic world where many people might have a similar idea, fast movers are the ones who seem to benefit the most from these ideas.
One of the best ways of protecting your invention ideas is through patenting. A patent is a right of ownership of the crucial details of an idea or a product. Depending on the regulations of a country, patenting is a straightforward process. For instance, in the United States, the United States Patent and Trademark is responsible for handling all the patenting issues.
What can be patented?
According to the United States Patent and Trademark, any new process, manufacture, machine or any new improvement qualifies to be patented. Whether someone came up with an original idea, or improved an existing one, this discovery can be patented. The patent therefore, helps to prevent others from replicating the same technology hence giving an inventor an opportunity of introducing their product/service to the market.
To be on the right track, an inventor needs to design a detailed report showing all aspects of the invention. This report can be used to give more information regarding the invention and might be referenced whenever a need for clarification arises.
Who can apply for a patent?
Only the original inventor may apply for the patent. An investor, who only contributed financially, may not be considered as an inventor, hence cannot apply for the patent. If the invention was made by two people working jointly together, then they may apply as joint inventors.
In case where an inventor is dead, or is considered mentally unstable, a legal representative, i.e. a guardian, or executioner of the estate might sign on their behalf. Sometimes an inventor might refuse to apply for a patent on an invention, or might not be found. If this case arises, then a joint inventor or anyone with proprietary interest in the invention in question may apply for a patent.
It would also be an added advantage if the inventor would have a working prototype of the invention. This prototype would act as proof of ownership of the idea. It doesn’t have to be a perfect prototype, but it needs to have enough information that can highlight its effectiveness.
A raw idea doesn’t necessarily qualify to become an innovation. An extensive research should be conducted in order to add as much information to the idea as possible. This, however, doesn’t mean that someone should expose their ideas to others or to companies. If one is prompted to do so, then they should seek legal counsel first.
A seasoned patent attorney would come in handy during a patenting process. This attorney would help the inventor with invention services to navigate the sensitive and complex process in order to ensure that everything is submitted correctly and to avoid future conflicts. A patent would also attract viable investors who would help to transform it into a business by contributing financially.