History is witness to the theft of great ideas. Back then there was no concept of patents and no way to keep a check on such actions. Times are different today. One can easily patent their brilliant ideas. What does it mean to patent an idea?
Patent on an invention gives you the owner property rights over it, which is issued by an official authority.
The term of a new patent is generally twenty years from the date of patenting in the United States.
Three main kinds of patents are issued, namely
- Utility patents
Anyone who invents an innovative process or a machine, a product, an article of use or a matter composition is granted this patent.
- Design patents
As the name suggests, this kind of patent goes to the inventor of new and original design of an article of manufacture.
- Plant patents
Anyone who reproduces a plant asexually or discovers a new one can get registered under this patent
A point to keep in mind is that one cannot technically patent a business idea, only it’s method of business can be patented. Also do hire a patent lawyer for carrying out this process properly else you may lose your brilliant idea and your precious money and time too.
When to get a patent?
Now experts say that first make an unique product, sell it. Increase the sales, earn profits. Let the big giants get jealous of it and then get it patented. Because a lot of companies, in the hurry of patenting their ideas, waste loads of money which ultimately just goes down the drain. Timing makes all the difference.
Once you are sure of your idea and that it falls under all the required criteria and that there is no previous patent on such a thing, then you are ready to file a patent.
How to do it?
Now that you are positive about your idea, the next step that needs to be taken is to go to the right authorities and ask for the procedures. Usually one has to give a full written description about the invention, giving full details about the nature of the patent. A processing fee has to be paid apart from the examination fee, search fee and issue fee.
The process of patenting can turn out to be expensive and hence be completely sure before taking the step forward. Consult proper authorities and experts to get their confirmation before stepping into this thing.
Alternatives to patent
Since it is an expensive and risky affair to get your invention patented, not everyone maybe able to afford it. Moreover, there is no guarantee as to your idea may not get stolen even after getting it patented. There are ways to go around it. Also the chances of getting a patent are also bleak. It depends on more than one factor. The country you are in and its rules and regulations have a great deal to do with whole process. Hence keep your options open and keep looking out for other options too.