Massachusetts Legal Blog

Have a Great Idea For a New Invention & Need Help Patenting Your Idea?

How to Patent Your Invention

Creating a new invention can be an exciting and invigorating time. Once you have created an invention you believe the world needs to see and use, the legal process of patenting your invention should be the next step. Before you file for a regular or provisional patent application, your idea is fair game for anyone else who wants to profit from it. If someone else takes your invention or ideas and patents them before you do, you virtually have no rights to the product or invention and will never see any fruits of your labor. It is vital to file for a patent as soon as you create your invention.

Filing for a Patent

The first step when preparing to file for a patent is to have a clearly outlined idea. Most people refer to this as an inventor’s notebook. It may contain diagrams, sketches, and write-ups about the invention. Every step of the process should be clearly outlined and documented. Then, it is necessary to prove the invention is new and that it works. This is usually in the form of a prototype. Most inventors then research the market to establish if there is a need.

A patent search is a necessary step. This can be done through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. This step will definitively pinpoint other inventions that may be similar to yours. After a thorough patent search and market search reveals that your invention is unique and that there is a need, the next step is to officially file either a regular patent application or provisional patent application.  A provisional patent application gives you the right to claim patent pending status for your invention. This remains in effect for one year. Within that year, you must file a regular patent application. An application can be overwhelming for some. Having a skilled patent law attorney to help with the application process can make it less intimidating. The application typically contains a summary and detailed description of the invention. It also contains a background of the invention and a conclusion that essentially describes the need for the invention.

Next Steps

Once an application is complete and filed with the U.S. Patent Office, the patent office will respond. The Patent Examiner assigned to your patent application will review it, comment on it, and will likely need to be convinced about the invention’s originality and usefulness. The dialog with the examiner may take some time, depending on the complexity and technological field of the invention. It may also be a good idea to speak with an experienced patent lawyer to help patent your invention.

While the process may seem time-consuming and complicated, filing for a patent is the most important step in the journey of bringing an invention to life and to the masses. The creative process, hard work, and determination it takes to invent an entirely new functional object or design can be rewarding in itself. The protection of that invention through a patent filing is in your best interest and legal assistance can make it a smooth and successful step in the process.

By Anna Shapiro.