How to Patent a Theme Park Idea

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Although there are many theme park technologies that have been around for decades, new ideas for theme parks are still being discovered. If you have a new ride or game or a new design for a theme park attraction, it may be worth your while to protect your idea and begin a search for investors. Thrill-seekers and game fanatics are always looking for the next big thrill. If you can give it to them, you can reap the rewards.

Things You'll Need

  • Prototype Sketches Forms
  • Make sure that your idea is something that you can patent. Patents are for inventions, not for ideas, names or artistic works. Names can only be protected by a trademark and artistic works can be copyrighted. Ideas in general cannot be legally protected. Follow the link below for more information on filing trademarks and copyrights.

  • Decide on what kind of patent you need. There are two kinds of patents that you might need for a theme park: a utility patent and a design patent. Utility patents are used to protect innovations in the way something works. Design patents are used to protect designs or ornamentation built into a manufactured object. Some inventions may require multiple patents. For example, if you had a new kind of ride that had a very specific and original look to it, you might want to obtain a utility patent for the ride and a design patent for its look.

  • Do a patent search. Go to the US Patent and Trademark Office search page below and enter search terms related to your invention linked by boolean operators. For example, if you had a new form of roller coaster and wanted to check that no one had made anything like it before, you would search "roller AND coaster."

  • Prepare a detailed draft outlining what parts go into your invention and how it works. You may want to build a mockup or prototype of your idea to make sure that all the parts work as you imagine they should.

  • Prepare a patent application. In addition to the drawing, you will need an explanation indicating what makes your object different from previous inventions and an explanation of what aspects of your amusement park idea warrant patent protection. For example, if you had a ride that used a new kind of joint to dangle rides upside down and an improved safety harness, you would probably want to patent both.

  • File the application and the required fee with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It will get back in touch with you and discuss your application, sometimes requiring further clarification. It can be a year before you actually receive a patent.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can afford it, hire a patent lawyer to do your search for you. If you inadvertently file a patent on something someone else already invented and succeed in obtaining a patent, you can face significant penalties if that person take you to court over using his or her patent.

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