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Patents and Intellectual Property

Do you have a novel idea or invention? If so, you might consider trying to patent the idea in case you ever want to make money from the profits it accrues. There are many nuances and challenges when it comes to patent and intellectual property law. In hopes of making this process a little clearer, I have written this article. Throughout, we will explore the purpose of patent law, the process of obtaining a patent, and finally some of the implications that can accompany a patent. Please note that this article is by no means exhaustive and to make any fully informed decisions, you should seek the advice of a professional IP attorney.

Is my idea patentable?

First and foremost, you must have an idea that is original and has not already been patented. You couldn’t, for example, patent a microwave since it has already been invented and patented. There have been some cases of people “inventing” things that have actually already been invented or natural processes that can be considered the property of everyone. In these cases, the specifics would typically be determined in a court of law and, usually, only if someone sues. It is hard to know if an idea has already been used or if it is distinct enough from similar ideas that it can rightfully be considered “new.” For this reason, the United States Patent and Trademark Office was created to consider patent proposals and legally grant rights to people deserving of proprietary benefits. If you are unsure that your idea is patentable, the next step would be to ask an attorney or the Patent and Trademark Office.

My idea is patentable! How do I patent it?

If you have an original, patentable idea, the next step is to apply for a patent. The patent process includes an application. First, you will need to determine which kind of patent your idea needs. There are three categories of patients; Utility, Design, and Plant. Utility patents are granted to novel ideas or machines. Design patents are granted to novel design modifications to existing process or machines. Plant patents are granted to people who discover or “invent” a new plant or genetically engineer one. After you determine the type of patent you want, you will need to complete an application. This usually consists of general paperwork with as much relevant information to your idea and why it should be considered new. For an effective application, you will generally want to include schematics, technical explanations of processes, etc. More is better. It is also important to know that there are usually pretty hefty application fees and the application process is rigorous. You should be relatively certain of success if you wish to pursue a patent. For more help with the application process, you might consider hiring a Dallas Intellectual Property attorney who can guide you through the steps and help you overcome any challenges you might encounter on the way. Good luck!