So you have an idea and want to file a patent application? There are a number of things that you need to know about the invention and patent process that can help you focus your efforts and know what obstacles lay in front of you. This page and website contain contain detailed information to help inventors. Our goal is to educate you, make you a knowledgeable consumer and to save you from those unscrupulous invention promotion companies who would tell you that you can patent an idea. You cannot patent an idea, but there are ways to move from idea to patent in an appropriate manner. These and other important topics are explained throughout our website.
Below are inventor help links to patent and invention related information throughout our website. Over the years we have written many hundreds of tutorial articles, so this is only a sampling. While I really believe that inventors should read all of the pages throughout IPWatchdog.com, I have gone through the IPWatchdog.com archives and created several “reading assignments,” which will hopefully be more manageable, and which will help get you started. I recommend you do them in this order (i.e., starting with Reading Assignment 1), but if you find something that you just need to know then by all means jump ahead. As you read the articles you will find links to other articles on related topics, but you can always come back to this article as necessary.
For information on drafting a provisional patent application yourself please see our do-it-yourself patent system called the Invent + Patent System.
Good luck and enjoy!
Reading Assignment 1 — Getting Started
- Protecting Ideas: Can Ideas Be Protected or Patented?
- Every Invention Starts with an Idea
- Moving from Idea to Patent – When Do You Have an Invention?
- Inventing 101: Protecting Your Invention When You Need Help
- Why Do You Want a Patent?
- Starting the Patent Process on a Limited Budget
- Top 5 Mistakes Inventors Make
- Keep Your Money in Your Wallet Until Proof of Concept
Reading Assignment 2 — Moving Forward with Your Invention
- Invention Promotion Companies
- The Successful Inventor: Patenting Improvements
- The Business Responsible Approach to Inventing
- Patent Searching 101: A Patent Search Tutorial
- Patent Searches: A Great Opportunity to Focus on What is Unique
- When should you do a Patent Search?
- Identifying the Patentable Feature
- Confidentiality Agreements
Reading Assignment 3 — Basic Patent Law
- What is a Patent? Understanding Patents and Patent Law 101
- Patentability Overview: When can an invention be patented?
- A Brave New Patent World – First to File Becomes Law
- The Risk of Not Immediately Filing a Patent Application
- Understanding Obviousness: John Deere and the Basics
- When is an Invention Obvious?
- Design Patents: The Under Utilized and Overlooked Patent
- The Benefits of a Provisional Patent Application
- Good, Bad & Ugly: Truth About Provisional Patent Applications
- I Can’t Find Prior Art for My Invention
Reading Assignment 4 — Patent Applications
- An Overview of the U.S. Patent Process
- PCT Basics: Obtaining Patent Rights Around the World
- Cost of Obtaining a Patent
- Applying for a Patent in the U.S.
- Non-provisional Utility Patent Applications – Content & Substance
- Patent Illustrations and Invention Drawings, What do you Need?
- Working with patent Drawings to Create a Complete Disclosure
- Patent Drawings 101: The Way to Better Patent Applications
- Patent Drafting: Appropriately Disclosing Your Invention
- How to Describe an Invention in a Patent Application
- An Introduction to Patent Claims
- Patent Claim Drafting 101: The Basics
- Understanding Patent Claims
- Drafting Patent Applications: Writing Method Claims
Reading Assignment 5 — Making Money with your Invention
- Patent Strategy: Laying the Foundation for Business Success
- Patent Strategy: Building a Patent Portfolio with Meaningful Rights
- Plausibly Estimating the Market for Your Invention
- A Better Mouse Trap: Patents and the Road to Riches
- Should I File a Patent Before Licensing the Invention?
- Getting Your Invention to Market: Licensing vs. Manufacturing
- Drafting a Licensing Agreement, A Patentee Perspective
- Converting Your Invention into Dollars and Cents
- Beat the Odds: How to Get Your Invention Licensed
- A Limited Run: Testing the Market Without Going Broke
- One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine