Patent an Idea

Whether you are confident you are the inventor of the next great idea or you are less sure about the future of your intellectual property, it’s always a good idea to consult with a U.S. registered patent attorney about your idea. It may seem extreme, but if you have an idea, this discussion should be among the very first things on your to-do list—even before you share your enthusiasm with friends and family.

What kind of ideas can I patent?

Before you start keeping all of your thoughts to yourself to prevent theft of your intellectual property, it’s important to understand which ideas constitute a patent or copyright protection.

Do you have an idea you would like to patent? If it pertains to any of the following, you should consider pursuing a patent:

  • New product
  • Improved product
  • Cell phone App
  • Useful machine
  • Article of manufacture
  • Composition of matter or process

If you do, the first thing you need to do is call a U.S. registered patent attorney and ask them to conduct a patent search.  You want to make sure there are no other products on the market that are identical to your idea.

A lightbulb with planet Earth illuminating inside of the bulb.

Patent a Product Idea

In order to begin the process of patenting your product invention or idea, you first have to confirm that no one else already holds the patent for your idea. To do this, a U.S.-registered patent attorney will need to conduct a USPTO patent search. Beware of scammers, though!

Plenty of websites and non-law firm companies claim to simplify the process of getting a patent for your product idea, but this is a misdirection. Sharing your ideas with non-law firm companies does not guarantee the same confidentiality as attorney-client privilege. Non-law firm patent companies may steal your idea while law firms keep your idea protected under the attorney-client privilege. Non-law firm patent companies are under no such duty to keep your idea confidential.

Non-law firm patent companies may also steer you into marketing your idea without first conducting a Patent Search, but at Volta Law Group, we understand that marketing an idea for a product that is not new or has already been patented is a huge waste of time and money.

First to File Means File First! The Risk of Not Immediately Filing a Patent Application for Your Product Idea

When the USPTO switched to a first to file patent system in 2013, they did so in a way that makes us different from much of the rest of the world.

In the U.S., when two people apply for a patent on the same invention, the first person to file the patent application with the USPTO will get the patent, period. This holds true even if the second person had the idea first or did, in fact, come up with the invention first.

The only thing that counts is the filing date.

Patent an App Idea

Mobile and computer applications are products and utilities just as much as the more tangible products you can buy on the shelves. As such, app ideas can be incredibly competitive and cut-throat, but that doesn’t mean that all app ideas are unique. If you’ve had an app idea, it’s important to seek out a patent before someone else can have your same idea and file a patent first. To patent an app, you still have to go through all the same processes of checking with the USPTO to carefully assess whether your idea is unique and if a patent already exists for your idea.

Because the process of patenting an app is so similar to applying for other patents, it’s recommended that you seek out a U.S. patent attorney to guide you through the many steps.

Legal Patent for Your Software

One of the most common questions in U.S. patent law is, “Is software eligible for a patent in the United States?” Unlike applications, the answer to this question is a bit more complicated, and there is significant ambiguity around the subject.

If the software is designed to improve the functionality of a computer system, or it establishes a new way to perform computing tasks, then it may be patentable. In short, the best way to find out if your software is eligible for a patent is to consult a U.S. patent attorney. Software patent applications must be carefully written and reviewed in order to qualify and an attorney will be able to offer guidance in that department. Your attorney will also be able to check the USPTO database and confirm patent pending status.

Idea for Chemical Patent

Chemical formulations are eligible for patent protection if they meet three conditions. First, it’s important to understand that chemical formulations are eligible for patent protection under the “composition of matter” section of patent law. Second, the chemical must also have useful applications and it must be significantly different from other available chemicals. Lastly, It must also be “nonobvious,” which means that it has to be original enough that someone else in your industry couldn’t have reasonably come up with such an idea.

Call Volta Law Group For All Your U.S. Patent Needs

With over 60 years of combined patent experience, procrastination is the most common hurdle we encounter from clients. Most people fail to realize their dream of becoming an entrepreneur because they postpone the financial risk associated with filing a patent for their product idea:

“I had this idea last year…” or

“I came up with this idea many years ago while on the job…” or

“My husband and I thought of this idea 5 years ago…”

By the time most clients get around to hiring a patent attorney to conduct a patent search, it is often too late – the idea has already been patented, and the client’s dream is lost.

This scenario plays out over and over again at our firm.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk…in a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking any risks at all.”

If you have an idea, the time to act is now.  We can help turn your dream into a reality. If you are interested in patenting an idea for a product, app, or anything else, call the best patent lawyers for the job! For more information about how Volta Law Group can help you apply for U.S. patent protection, contact our team today!

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