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When Do You Have an Invention? Moving from Idea to Patent

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog
Widerman & Malek
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Posted: Jul 9, 2011 @ 4:15 pm
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Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, Articles, Technology & Innovation

About the Author

is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.



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  1. […] When Do You Have an Invention? Moving from Idea to PatentIPWatchdog.comBy now everyone has undoubtedly seen the late night television commercials, and the online ads offering to help you patent your invention idea. Despite what these advertisements say, you cannot patent or protect an idea, but don't despair. … […]

  2. Nice article. Another new technology that could conceivably help many inventors is the 3D printer. Assuming that an innovator has the necessary materials, a 3D printer can reportedly crank out a prototype for a wide range of products.

  3. So very informative…Thank you…I will use this as my bible for my invention

  4. Just another big THANK YOU for all your advice!

  5. Okay, So I have a great Idea. What site would i go to for a patent?

  6. I know I have a very good idea & can explain it in detail. What is my first step aft. the agreement to share the idea & wouldn’t I want to see the co. is backed by the BBB?

  7. i have a idea and i need your help bringing it to life please call me 3346513927

  8. Dear Mr. Quinn, First I wish to thank you for such an informative page. You shed so much light on a subject that I am not well versed in. My family has met on very hard times, as many in this recent economy. I have virtually put my life on hold to care for my ill and elderly parents. My late brother had an idea that he passed to me and I have held onto it for ten years. I have done a lot of homework and research and I am convinced that it is both feasible and financially lucrative, but most importantly “do-able.” But we have zero start up money to contribute to this effort. I’m sure everyone who has an idea thinks it will be marketable, but in our case, I am certain of it.There must be a reputable company in the marketplace that would do the start-up, pro-bono, if you will ~ Can you please help advise me by pointing me in the right direction, so than I can proceed with making this a reality. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter ~

  9. Colette-

    I don’t know what to say exactly. If you have no money at all there is really nothing you can do. There are ways to move forward on a modest budget, but no way that I know of to move forward with no budget.

    Sorry. I wish I had a better answer for you.


  10. So my husband and i were havibg conversation at dinner and he shared with me an inventiin he has come up with many years ago.. he is very serious about it and i am honestly very impressed with his.ideas. we both are full throttle on getting started on this. only one thing is we haven’t a clue.who to trust or where to even begin. does anybody have any honest advice on where to go or who to talj to to where we.can.find.out if its already been created or if.we actually have something here. please and sincerly Leeann and Sean

  11. I need to get my invention patent, I just read your info and my first step is to get it patent. I professionaly got my idea written up, the pro and cons of the idea also it is drawn out in a hard back book decribing it on size and how it works and the other ideas in that arena that are my competition. I need to get it patent. I do have a budget to work with, I am not rich tho!

  12. I have a invent .but you can help me to do it?my invent is very interesting. I will call you mr.quinn.
    The topic very good.

  13. Hi Mr. Quinn,

    I want to Thank you for such informative site. This has taken off my worries about how to start getting my idea to put on paper my invention. Once I do I will also sketch it, then patent it, so nobody will steal my idea and invention! My idea came from a problem that not only will help millions especially special needs. I have a son who has special needs and with this will solve his problem (life skill everyday solution). And whenever I think of my son’s needs I know that there are millions out there that are in the same situation. Therefore, I came up with this out of frustration and great need. Right now, it is obvious, there is none of that invention yet publicly used.
    I also know that once patented, I will take the next step, with your help and expertise to guide me.
    With your expertise, I am comfortable and honored to hire you as my lawyer.
    What number may I reach you?

  14. Malissa-

    Thanks for your interest in working with me. It would be best to start with an initial e-mail where we can swap contact information and proceed from there. You can reach me via this form:


  15. In addition to the above, I would add that a very powerful tool for growing an idea into an invention is a prior art search. An initial prior art search on an idea will help show an inventor what others have done in the field. That will help the inventor appreciate what still has to be done to convert their idea into a practical, and patentable, invention.