So, you have an idea that you think would make a fantastic invention, now what do you do? Before you take that idea to market and develop the invention further, it is always wise to apply for a patent. This gives you protection and allows you to continue to develop the idea without having to worry about others using it for their own purposes. How do you apply for a patent and how can you use patent licensing to your advantage?
It is possible for you to apply for a patent on your own but it can be complicated and if it is not done properly, it may be rejected. That is why it is often recommended that an attorney or other service is hired which can help to walk you through the process. That would include searching through existing patents on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website to ensure that it does not already exist.
Identifying the Types of Patents
There are 3 different types of patents and you need to choose the one that is going to be right for your idea or new invention. A utility patent is the most common and it refers to an invention that is specific to a function. Design patents, on the other hand, are specific to parts of the overall design. A plant patent is the one that is used less frequently, as it is given for reproducible plants.
Once you have identified the type of patent and done your research on the USPTO website, you can file your patent in order to get the protection it offers. This can either be done on the website, as well as through the Postal Service or by faxing the application. No email option is currently available.
This may seem like a relatively easy process but the fact of the matter is, it may take years before your patent is granted. Get the help that is necessary to ensure that you fill out the application properly and make all of the right decisions. It will make a difference in how things go for you.
Using Patent Licensing
When you have a patent, it is possible for you to take advantage of patent licensing. The two different types of patent licensing are referred to as exclusive and nonexclusive. These can benefit you in multiple ways, including granting rights to others so that they can further develop the idea. You may also use licensing if somebody is already using your idea. This type of license is typically offered to force the individual to pay for the idea as an alternative to being sued over patent infringement.
Applying for a patent and taking advantage of any licensing that would benefit you will offer you protection and allow you to continue to develop your idea. The patent laws are in place to protect you in this way and to promote the development of new inventions. Make sure that you are taking advantage of what they have to offer.
Patrick Dawson is the author of this article about applying for a patent. He is an part-time college professor and a journalist. He had experience with the patent application form and product invention help from Innovate Product Design. For more question or information, feel free to connect with him over at Google+