So you have had an incredible idea and feel the itch to invent something! How wonderful! But, how do you get your invention from a light bulb above your head to a real and true reality? Well, first, you have to protect it. For the time being, keep your idea entirely to yourself. If it really is the next big thing, there are plenty of people out there just waiting to steal it before you can do anything that would mean they’d be violating patent law. The only way that you are going to be able make any money from you invention is to make sure that no one can take your idea and make something out of it before you can. You’ll need to hire patent lawyers to file a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This can become quite a process, so here’s out you can do it in just five simple steps.
- Document the Idea
The very first step is to write it down. Having an idea in your head means nothing to anyone. You have to have evidence that you were the one that had the original invention idea. Consult with your patent attorney or trademark attorney to know the specifics of what you should write down but it will definitely include what it is and how it works. How you’ll make it work and how you’ll market it should also probably be included in your documents. Get it notarized or mail it to yourself in a sealed envelope so you’ll have the date of the conception of the invention. The best thing to do is write everything in a notebook or a journal that has numbered pages so things can be added or removed. You can continue to write in it as time goes on. Just make sure you write dates and have a witness sign it.
- Research the Idea
Once you have an idea, you’ll need to look into it from a legal standpoint as well as a business one. You need to make sure that you perform an initial patent search. This includes hiring a patent lawyer to conduct a search for your idea. You’ll also need to look for any kind of artwork or designs that are similar to your ideas. If you find some, you might not be able to patent it. Make sure that you also research your market to make sure that people would actually buy what you’re selling. Most of the time, patents don’t make any money for the inventor. In order to determine whether or not someone would want to buy your invention, compare some similar products that are already out on the market. This will also aid you in figuring out your competition. Remember, you’re always going to have competition, even if you think your idea is the most new and unique thing out there.
- Make a Prototype of Your Idea
This is a model of your invention. It will allow you to play out all of the things that you’ve written down about your idea. You’ll need to do this before you file a patent. Having a prototype will help you use a little trial and error to make the product even better before you patent it. If you change too much after you patent it, you’ll end up losing your patent rights. When prototyping your idea, start with a drawing or a sketch of your ideas. Then, figure out how to make a 3D model of the design. Once that’s done, you can create the full working model. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money creating the prototype, or you can’t, then consider a computer animated prototype.
- File the Patent
Once you’ve completed all the above steps and worked out any kinks in your designs, you can finally file the patent. You’ll file a utility patent for new processes or machinery and a design patent for ornamental designs. Even if you fill out the application yourself, make sure that you have a patent lawyer look it over before you submit it.
- Market the Product
You’ll need to come up with a business plan now. Figure out how you’ll get the money and where you’ll start and then you’re off.