Patent It - If You Don't, Someone Else
Do you have an invention that has been burrowing
away in your mind for years? Do you think it could make you real money,
but you lack the financial ability to do anything about it at the
moment? If you do, you might want to consider applying for a patent.
Whilst it can seem quite expensive to buy a patent for something that is
currently only an idea, it can be well worth it in the long run. For
every invention, from vacuum cleaners to mobile ringtones, there has
always been somebody left kicking themselves because they had thought of
it first – but were usurped by a company that is now making millions.
Patents are awarded by the government and give an inventor the right to
stop others using, selling or manufacturing their idea without
permission. This lasts for a limited amount of time, depending on how
much is paid. Patents are often described as granting “intellectual
property” – meaning that they can be bought, sold or rented to others.
A patent gives you the right to stop others from making your invention,
but it does not give you rights above anyone else to have your invention
made. Once you have one, you will need to start thinking about ways to
manufacture your idea.
The two main types available in the United States are Design and
Utility. Utility patents are awarded for the invention or discovery of
any new, useful and developable process, article of manufacture, machine
or composition of matter.
If you have a new, original and ornamental design for an article of
manufacture, in the United States you may be granted a Design patent.
Additionally, Plant patents are available to anyone who discovers and
can asexually reproduce a totally new variety of plant.
The rules for awarding these property rights include the fact that your
invention must be “useful”. This means both that it should have a
purpose, and that it should be manufactured by normal industrial
processes. An invention that cannot be fesibly manufactured could be
Abstract ideas, including laws of nature and observed or created
physical phenomenon, cannot be granted patents. Neither can you be
granted property rights over an idea or suggestion – it is the actual
invention or machine described by you that it patented, not your idea.
Sometimes you have an idea, but do not know it already exists somewhere.
If other people in this country have known about or used your idea
before you apply, you will not be eligable to have it patented. There
are websites where you can check which ideas have already been granted a
Furthermore, if your invention has appeared in a printed publication in
any country in the world, for more than a year before your application,
you cannot have property rights over it.
For more information, you may wish to look up the Patent and Trademark
office of your government, which will highlight the full rules and
procedure. Often, when people are sure they are eligable, they choose to
hire a patent attorney or agent to help them with applications. Good
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Loreno Lepe has a background in the chemical and
construction industries. To read more articles click
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