A patent is granted to the owner of an intellectual property which prevents others from using, selling or making the invention. The country’s government grants these rights for a specific period to protect the invention. Anyone who wants to use the invention can do so only if the owner permits to use it.
What does the patent cover?
Any great novelty and an invention that is of use to the people have to be protected. Products, services or any process that is new either functionally or technically can be covered under a patent. It means that a patent will be provided if it is a contribution which is technical. Some of the things that can be patented are:
- Novel: Which is not publicly released before the application of the patent.
- Inventive: Which is an innovation not already known or present. It cannot be a modification of something that is known and can be used in the industry.
How to obtain a patent?
Is your idea eligible for patent: Before you go ahead and file your patent application it is necessary to know if your invention is suitable for it. Your idea must be new, should have practical benefits and non-obvious. If it is, then you can start the process of evaluating your invention.
Know the patent category it belongs to: The US patent office has three different types of patents.
- Utility patent: This is the most popular type of patent and is granted if your invention is original and is beneficial to society. It offers protection for 20 years from the date of filing.
- Design patent: Is for the design of a product and lasts for 15 years from the day the patent is granted. It should not be applied for process design.
- Plant patent: If a plant is produced and developed scientifically this type of patent can be filed for your product.
Ensure your idea is already not patented: The invention you have created and developed should be very different from other similar inventions, conduct a proper research to find if your idea can be patented. If there is already a product that is licensed, and similar to yours, then there is no use in wasting precious time and money on it.
Check the potential in the market: Decide before filing the patent application if it is worth the money you are about to spend. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer for filing a patent, it can still eat into your purse as you need to shell out a minimum of $1,500.
File a patent application: If you are in the US, you can file a patent application with the USPTO, else find information about your country’s patent office. You can submit an RPA which is a full patent application or a PPA which is a provisional application which is a patent for an invention which is on pending status. You can apply through regular mail or electronic mail.
The primary concern while providing a patent is about how it is made, what it is made with and its working. So certain things cannot be patented like a mathematical or scientific theory, or a discovery, any artistic work, drama or music. If you are sure that your idea is unique, it stands by all the conditions for getting a patent and you feel it could be duplicated, then go for it!