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Invention Patent Help

Invention Patent Help

Invention help : evaluating your ideas

So all that time in your garage, office, or secret underground lab has paid off. You have invented something marvelous. But the work doesn't stop there. Because now you have to decide how to bring your creation to the world, and how to make a living from it. That's where patents come in. A patent is basically an incentive to innovation, a special right granted by the government allowing you to make exclusive commercial use of your invention for a limited period of time. 20 years, to be precise. This page is about invention help - the basics of promoting and protecting your work.

The first thing you need to decide is whether to attempt to patent the invention or not. Applying for a patent is a long and expensive process and it's not guaranteed until the application is examined that you will even get one. There are three things to consider at this stage: whether you can afford to file for a patent; whether you need to file for a patent; and whether your invention meets the initial criteria for patenting. There are other kinds of intellectual property protection, such as copyrighting and trademarks, which depending on the product might serve you more or less as well as a patent. The US government copyrighting site, www.copyright.gov, has information on this avenue of invention help.

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But if you're going down the patent route, the things you need to initially consider for patentability are: utility; novelty; and innovativeness. Let's consider the antimatter machine that someone invented on one of the other pages of this site. Does the antimatter machine have a practical application? Yes - spaceships like the ones in Star Trek. Is it new? The answer's pretty obvious with antimatter but for less obvious inventions a patent search will be necessary to make sure it hasn't been done before. And finally, innovativeness: again, this is pretty easy for an entirely new energy source but for lesser inventions it will be necessary to show that the invention is not obvious to someone with a reasonable level of skill in the field. You can think about all of these issues yourself but it's best to get expert invention help before jumping in the deep end. A trained patent agent or patent lawyer will help with all stages of the application but the lawyer is best for drawing up the application itself. For more information, the comprehensive US Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov is an initial port of call, but there is plenty of literature available.