How Can I Patent an Idea?
I Have an Idea but How Can I Protect It
The problem with just having an idea is that you can't simply "own" an idea. Patents protect inventions, copyrights protect creative type of work, trademarks protect commercial phrases and images. Nothing legally protects an idea by itself. You don't own it. So, how do you present your idea without someone stealing it and or telling someone else about it.
You could ask anyone that you decide to tell prior to spilling your beans that they sign a confidentiality agreement and on a personal level, I would, but if you plan on presenting it to a company or marketing group, don’t expect them to sign it. Bottom line, companies that may be interested in your idea may already be considering something very similar and they could wind up blocking their own efforts to proceed with their own idea since it was close to yours.
Now, that being said, you can Protect Your Idea with a Provisional Patent. . The U.S. Government has recognized that people need an economical means of filing for patents and protecting their ideas even if the final finished product has yet to be completed. This type of patent, a provisional patent, qualifies for a Patent Pending status, so that you are protected by having your idea being dated and being considered for a more permanent patent while you continue to pursue your efforts to get it to market.
You can read the basic background of a provisional patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and see if this explains things in detail for you.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Can I Sell My Idea?
Short Answer; No!
Now for the more detailed answer; yes and no. First of all you must understand that an idea is nothing more and nothing less than just an idea or thought. You cannot sell your thoughts, well, maybe a penny for your thoughts might work.
Seriously, in order to sell your idea it has to have something tangible attached to it. In other words you need to be able to prove to anyone without any doubts that it is in fact your idea. Let's face it, you could have stolen an idea from someone else and then decided to pawn it as your own. Who would know for sure either way? Exactly, they wouldn't.
Before You Spill Your Idea to Anyone Protect Your Idea First With A Provisional Patent
Okay, let's look at actually presenting your offer to sell your next big idea. In most cases we suddenly have an idea that pops into our heads and we decide ourselves that IT WILL WORK! The next step we usually take is we tell someone about our idea and try to gain peer support to see if it will past the first test of presenting it to someone else.If they encourage us to continue with our idea, we are stoked to the max that we have hit pay dirt.Wrong!
To do this legally and correctly, you need to protect your idea. You need to turn your idea into something you actually own. You need to have legal documentation that you own this idea and have details in print. Now, you might be able to sell it, I say might, there is still a lot of legwork involved.
Once you have applied and received a provision patent, you now can boast that you have a patent pending status on your idea. This gives you the tangible part of your idea that can now be sold to an investor. There are people out there that do buy patents and this is how ideas are sold. The downside, your idea is still unproven and not in circulation to give most investors some idea of the market response your idea has shown, even in a limited market.
In order to continue with your idea, once you have your provisional patent in place, you need to follow through with creating as much of your idea as possible and seek out investors that are already looking in a given manufacturing or industrial area that involves your idea.
Should you be fortunate to find an interested party you can choose to share with them their expertise for a commission or a buyout purchase of your idea.