How to Protect Your Idea or Invention Before Getting a Patent

It’s a sad fact of life that there are people looking to steal anything they think will profit them. So if you’re working on some great new idea or product, you have to protect your intellectual property. (“Intellectual property” is defined as your ideas that you express in a form that can be sold.) If you ask an attorney or businessman how you should go about protecting your idea, he will tell you to get a patent.

Good plan! However, a patent requires that you submit drawings for a finished product to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. (It is possible to file for a provisional patent, but there are some serious drawbacks to doing so, the primary one being that it only lasts a year. Before the end of the 12 months, you must file a corresponding non-provisional application or lose the benefits of the provisional patent.)

So how do you protect your idea before you’re ready to patent it?

The first and most general guideline is, don’t talk about your idea. Don’t show it to anyone. If you need expert input from others, it’s better to pay them for their time on a limited basis rather than show them too much of your invention.

Suppose you need more extensive collaboration or financial backing? Then you may need to take on a partner. In this case, you should have a clear understanding with your partner(s) about the confidentiality of your project. (Absolutely, the fewer people you take into a partnership, the better your chances of keeping it confidential.) A handshake agreement is not adequate here; you must put everything in writing and take it to an attorney to make sure the contract covers every contingency and will stand up in court.

Then when you are all ready, send your project to Inventia Patent Drafting. Using state-of-the-art CAD/design software, we at Inventia produce superior technical illustrations that will be accepted by the USPTO for patent protection of your product. We treat our clients with the respect and confidentiality you deserve. So contact us for help in protecting your great idea.

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