If you have an idea for a new invention, you may be wondering if it’s possible to patent your invention idea before developing it into a product. The answer to this question is yes, but it depends on the type of invention you have in mind.
The first thing to understand is that there are two ways to protect your invention: patents and trademarks. Patents protect inventions and help prevent others from copying your idea. When you file for a patent, the government grants you a monopoly over the invention for up to 20 years (with certain exceptions). Trademarks protect words, symbols or designs that identify products or services from one business from another business — so if you have a brand name for your product, then it could be trademarked as well as patented. Consult with a professional patent agency, such as Invent Help, if you are not sure which type of protection is right for your idea.
To get a patent on your own invention idea, it must be unique enough that someone would not easily guess how to make your product. You also need to be able to explain how your invention works so that someone else can use it without having to figure out how exactly it works themselves (a requirement known as enablement).
In addition, patents aren’t just limited to physical products; they can cover software and even methods of doing something (a process). However, patents cannot cover ideas themselves because there’s no way to prove that someone else didn’t come up with the same idea before you did. You can, however, patent a specific implementation of an idea so long as it is novel enough that someone else couldn’t easily guess how to do the same thing themselves.
The patent process is complicated, and it can take months or even years for a patent to be approved. There are many different stages in the process—from filing an application to getting approval—and each stage has its own requirements and fees. Hiring a patent attorney or patent agency, like InventHelp, can help you navigate the process and make sure that your application is thorough and complete.