How to Patent an Invention


Do you have an idea that has led you to an invention? If so, getting a patent is a vital step in the invention process. If you do not have rights ownership, your invention will become virtually worthless to you. The process of patenting an invention is not difficult or complicated--here's how.

  • Make a working model of your idea. You cannot simply patent an idea, you need to make the idea a reality to be patentable.

  • Determine that the invention is new and not just a variant of another known invention. Search for information on the Internet, check files at patent offices or contact a patent lawyer. The final decision regarding whether your invention is original will be made at a later time, but doing a preliminary search can save you time and money if you find that your invention isn't original.

  • File a provisional application for patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This will give you approximately one year to further work on your invention while securing your rights. (See Resources below.)

  • File a final application. Be sure that everything on this application is correct. It's easy to edit a provisional application, but it's difficult to edit a final application.

  • Wait for the USPTO to make their final ruling. They may ask you for more information if needed. Once accepted, you'll have successfully patented your invention.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be industrious during each step of the patent process. Making a mistake can cost you valuable time and money.
  • Do not inform others of your invention until you have a patent. However, if you must tell someone, have the person sign a document that indicates you maintain all rights to the invention.

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