Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Fools™
I am frequently asked a version of the same question by inventors, which goes something like this: “I have an idea but I am unable to turn it into anything myself. I am going to need some help. What should I do to make sure I am protected?”
Patent attorneys and agents reading will likely start to immediately say that ideas cannot be patented and it doesn’t sound like you have anything that could be protected. I too have explained that to many inventors of the years and written about that very topic (see Protecting Ideas and Moving from Idea to Patent). But with this presentation there is no way to know yet whether there is an invention lurking there or whether the individual has merely a raw idea without any knowledge about how to bring it into being. Thus, this question begs the essential inquiry, which is this: At what point does an idea take enough form to be considered an invention that can be protected? Many times there is an invention that could be defined and protected well before one might suspect.