How To Patent An Idea

Ideas are worth spreading, but not all ideas are worth patenting. Welcome to the present generation — where ideas are unlimited and accessible for free. You can develop your ideas by searching through the Internet, brainstorming through your social circles, or scanning references through online references. But can you patent an idea?

Now you found a raw idea, you wrote it down on a piece of paper and created a rationale. You built an invention, saved its specimen, and advanced through a filing in the USPTO by yourself. Unfortunately, you didn’t pass the standards set by your Patent Examiner. 

You got disappointed, emotionally wrecked, and lost!

That’s a short narrative if you don’t carefully understand the process and rules governing the patent application. It needs your time and effort to decipher the complex patent process. 

But don’t worry, we want you to relax and smile. We will help simplify how to patent an idea in this article.

Can you patent an idea? 

This is the common question that most patent applicants aspire to ask. Quiet tricky at first, but as a general rule, raw ideas alone cannot be patented. 

light bulb lit in a dark room


Raw ideas are like tables without legs; it cannot stand without its legs supporting. Hence, raw ideas are mere abstract concepts. Without a specific material or concrete process that it presents, it remains to be unsubstantial and no value. 

What are the statutory requirements

Under the Patent laws, the statutory requirements to patent an invention differ in two divisions: the Utility Patent and the Design Patent. 

Utility Patent

If you desire to protect the functionality of an invention through internal and structural functions, then file a utility patent. It covers protection on step-by-step methods, chemical or biological compositions, physical devices, or unique assemblies. 

The law provides four statutory requirements for under utility patent application, which comprises the patentable subject matter, novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness.

Always remember that when filing for a utility patent, you need to have proof or evidence validating the usefulness of your invention in commerce or industry.

Design Patent 

Design patents are a protection to the external features of your invention. Thus, you don’t need to prove the functionality of your invention in design patents.

The ornamental characteristics bring the unique qualities of your invention, such as shape, configuration, and surface applied. From the name itself, the patent preserves the “design” rather than its “utility.”

How to Patent an Idea?

#1 Invention or Intellectual Property Disclosure

Your invention is your intellectual property. Hence, you need to disclose your invention to ensure that it has novelty, non-obviousness, and utility characteristics, including:

  1. Its technical and specific functions;
  2. The sketch or prototype of your invention; and 
  3. The potential licensees or parties involved in the manufacturing or replication of your design or utility patent. 

#2 Hire a Patent Attorney 

man buttoning his suit jacket as he comes down a flight of office stairs

Hiring a Patent Attorney will speed up your patent application by providing you a strategic IP plan, protecting the disposition and integrity of your intellectual property rights. Here, your patent attorney studies your disclosed invention and files on earlier times to abide by a “first-to-file” patent rule.

But that’s not the only thing that you should look forward to in filing a patent application. 

To make sure that your invention is marketable and patentable, Bold Patent is the only US patent law firm that uses a patent success matrix — proven way to optimize your invention. Here, Bold Patent carefully analyzes your invention as to its industry and size, level of competition in the market, and its marketability analysis.

What more unlimited perks? Book your consultation today!

#3 Ask for a Legal Opinion 

Moving on, your patent attorney conducts a patent search to check if there would be potential infringements on prior arts. Moreover, he checks if there are identified IP problems so that he could formulate suggestions to advance your patent application. 

#4 File either a Provisional or Nonprovisional Application in USPTO

There are lots of ways to file for your patent, but here are two practical and major ways you can avail to save your patent costs

Provisional Patent Application

A provisional patent application is an informal application that seeks to delay the examination by preserving a filing date for an invention.

Here, you don’t need to have a claim set for your specification and drawings of your patent. Thus, a provisional patent application only legally marks your invention as “patent pending.”

Nonprovisional Patent Application

This allows your patent application to be submitted and examined by a patent examiner. Hence, you need to stipulate specific sections with the specification, having a properly formatted claim set.

To comply with the formality, you need to submit an oath/declaration, information disclosure statement, and an application datasheet. 

Key Takeaways 

Indeed, ideas are worth spreading but not all ideas are worth patenting. In our present generation, you can access ideas online, feeding your mind with glorious and brilliant concepts for your invention. 

As a general rule, raw ideas alone cannot be patented. Thus, you need to build and create an invention. 

Under the Patent laws, the statutory requirements to patent an invention differ in two divisions: the Utility Patent and the Design Patent. 

A utility patent protects the “usefulness” and the “overall functionality” of your invention, while a design patent preserves the “design” or “overall surface.” 

For utility patent, you need to meet four requirements, including:

  1. Patentability Subject Matter;
  2. Novelty;
  3. Utility; and 
  4. Non-obviousness.

Again, always remember that when filing for a patent application, you need to have proof or evidence validating the utility of your invention. 

For a design patent, you don’t need to comply with any statutory requirement or any specimen to prove the functionality of your invention. 

Thus, how to patent an idea?

  1. First, you need to undergo an Invention or IP disclosure;
  2. Second, you need to hire a Patent Attorney;
  3. Third, ask for his legal opinion;
  4. Lastly, file the patent application in USPTO either by provisional or nonprovisional patent application. 

Again, the patent application should not give you a heartbreak. But rather, it should keep you going!

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