How do I obtain a patent for a new idea or new invention?

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You cannot obtain a patent on an idea, but you can obtain a patent on an invention. The differnce is that an idea does not contain the overall structure and finality as would an invention. Said another way, in order to be able to obtain a patent you will need to be able to explain to others how to both make and use your invention in a way that does not lead to what the law calls "undue experimentation." Basically this means that you need to define how to accomplish your invention so that other knowledgable individuals could reproduce the invention themselves with only a reasonably (read minimal) expenditure of time and effort on their part. You don't need to have a blue print, but you would need to have a description at least as detailed as you would normally see in an instruction manual.

    To file for a patent application in the US you can either file a provisional patent application or a non-provisional patent application. A provisional application allows for filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. The beauty of the provisional is that it locks in your priority date. In other words, your filing date for any later filed non-provisional ("regular") application will be that of the provisional. Additionally, filing a provisional patent allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied, which can have significant marketing advantages. Furthermore, the filing of a provisional application is considered to be a patent application, which probably seems obvious, but which is exceptionally important under the patent laws of the United States. This is critical because in the US you can become prevented from filing a patent application if certain things have happened more than 12 months prior to the filing of a patent application. For example, if you sell a product for more than 12 months prior to filing an application you lose the right to obtain a patent. If, however, you have filed a provisional application less than 12 months after you start selling then you are fine. So, the moral of the story is that provisionals not only lock in your application date, but they also stop the running of any legal time bars (so-called statutory bars) which could otherwise prevent you from obtaining a patent. A provisional application lasts only 12 months though, at which time you would need to file a non-provisional application to continue. For more information on provisional patents see:

    Alternatively you could just start with a non-provisional application. A non-provisional patent application is what is commonly referred to as simply a patent application. It is called non-provisional to distinguish it from a provisional application. When you file a non-provisional application your application will be preliminarily reviewed by a Patent Office employee to see if all of the parts of the application, including the filing fee, are present. In order to file a non-provisional application you must fill out a number of forms, and you also must create the patent document itself. There are no forms for the patent document, which makes it challenging for individual inventors and entrepreneurs. For more information on non-provisional applications see:

    You can always hire a patent attorney to help you. If you are interested in cutting costs has a unique system that allows inventors to do much of the work themselves under the guidance of a patent attorney. This greatly reduces the overall costs associated with obtaining a patent. For more information on this see:

    I hope this helps. Good luck.

    Source(s): I am a patent attorney and law professor - Reg. No. 44,294.
  • Jack C
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Depending on the complexity of your invention, you should seek the advice of a patent attorney or a patent agent that is registered with the US Patent and Tradmark Office.

    Many times, patent applications are rejected not because the idea is not patentable, but because the application was not submitted correctly.

    The other thing to consider is that if you do not word your application correctly (in addition to the form application, you need to provide a description and an abstract of your invention), your invention may not be protected to the full extent to which you are entitled.

    Source(s): I am a patent attorney.
  • 1 decade ago

    Download the form for a provisional patent fromt the Patent office website. Fill out all the information and write up a description of your idea with drawings or any other applicable addenda, mail it in with the fee form and wait to hear from them. Then, within a year file the full patent.

  • 1 decade ago

    You'll have to contact the US Department of Patents for the paperwork to file for a patent. Go on line to see if you can obtain the application that way.

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  • 1 decade ago this might be helpful since you can apply for a patent directly from the source th U.S. Patent Office ----

    Source(s): I am a plumber
  • 4 years ago

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  • 1 decade ago

    if you have a REAL idea,, great,, you will need lots of money to get the paper work started unless you get a sonsor who will want most of the payoffs!!!

  • 1 decade ago

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