How to patent an idea?

+78 votes
asked Sep 24, 2015 in Science by Orval2358107 (470 points)
I have an idea for a new design of a water craft. I don’t want other people from copying it before I actually build one so I want to know how to apply for a patent for it.

2 Answers

+19 votes
answered Oct 22, 2015 by RebekahReinh (370 points)

The first step that you must do to patent an idea is to file a provisional patent application. Application forms and the actual filing of application can be done at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website (

But before you upload your application and the documents supporting your patent application, you must first make sure that yours is an original idea and no patent has been issued for it. You can search at the patent office’s website for any patent application or existing patent that are related to your idea. This is very important because the result will tell you whether someone already owns the right to the same idea as yours. If that’s the case, the patent office will reject your claim and all your work will be for nothing.

If your search returns no pending or active patent, then you are free to file your patent application. Just fill out the form provided by the patent office. Attach all documents required by the application. This may include drawings, a complete description of your idea or invention, and other document that will prove that your idea is original.

The third and final step is to upload all your files to the patent office’s website. Then you’re done. The waiting will begin. The patent office will conduct their own investigation and decide whether to grant you a provisionary patent or not.

commented Oct 23, 2015 by Frederick01L (150 points)
Very useful and practical information on how to patent an idea. Thank you!
0 votes
answered Oct 9, 2015 by JacquieMcmic (160 points)
You could do it all by yourself, or you could choose to get a patent attorney to do the filing for you. This is really important if think that your idea or invention is worth a lot of money. You don’t want to lose your right to it just because you failed to fill up some forms. It is very rare that first time applicants get everything right in their first try, so any help from professionals will be welcome to avoid having your application rejected.

A patent attorney can help expedite the approval of your claim, just make sure that you are submitting a complete and valid patent application. They may cost extra compared to doing the filing on your own, but why would you care about a few hundred bucks if you can immediately recoup your expenses after you get your idea monetized? Having someone knowledgeable about the ins and outs of patent filing can save you a huge amount of time and effort. By letting an attorney handle the application, you can focus on your invention and continue to improve it.
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