When someone has created a new product or has a unique idea, they will want to know how to patent it. There are common misconceptions concerning how to patent a product or idea. Many people lack the knowledge concerning the basic legal protections they can use to maintain ownership of their product or idea. An attorney can help determine the type of patent that is necessary. They can also assist a person during the entire patent process.

Types of Patent

When someone is considering obtaining a patent, they will need to know the type of patent they should apply to receive. An idea or product will be covered by one of three different types of patents. They are utility, plant, and design. A utility patent can be given to anyone who creates a new methodology for achieving a goal in the science or business world. It also applies to those who have invented an original product. Should someone have created a new type of vegetation, they would need a plant patent. Those who have created an original ornamental design will need to obtain a design patent.

Research

It is important for people who want a patent to realize it will be time-consuming as well as expensive. There is research a person should do before making such a significant commitment of time and money. A person will want to search on the internet to see if anyone already has their product or idea. If it is discussed on a public website, the idea won’t be eligible to receive a patent. It will be considered public knowledge. Going to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to do a patent search for similar products or ideas is important. It can be done online or in person.

Invention History

It is recommended that people document the history of their idea in a bound notebook. Their name, as well as contact information, should be on the inside. It is important to put the date they began to work on the project. Having trusted people sign each page and date it is also essential. Maintaining organized files of the invention should be done.

Confidentiality Laws

Nobody should ever disclose their idea to anyone, except their witness. When dealing with a new idea or product, it is better to maintain all important information in a notebook. This is better than putting it on a computer. Any information a person puts on a computer has the potential to be compromised.

Patent Attorneys Aren’t Patent Agents

People need to know how each one can help them. A patent agent is someone who is authorized to legally file patents for people. These are individuals who have passed the bar exam for the US Patent and Trademark office. They can assist individuals with the general patent procedure. A patent agent cannot represent anyone in court as they don’t have a law license. They aren’t able to assist with negotiating contracts. All of these things are actions a patent attorney can do for their clients.

Patent Attorney Meeting

A copy of a person’s patent search, as well as a single paragraph description of the invention, should be sent to an attorney prior to any meeting. They will want to see a notebook as well as any prototypes that have been created. If only sketches of an idea are available, it is a good idea to send them. Doing this will help the meeting be more productive.

People often ask about a “patent attorney near me.” With a little research into the history and reputation of an attorney or law firm, a good fit can be discovered. When a person believes they have a unique idea or product, they need to think big and set important goals. A patent attorney knows how to help a person achieve them.