10 Tips For Inventors
You don't have to be Alexander Graham Bell or Benjamin Franklin to call yourself an inventor. Today, anyone with a brilliant idea and some perseverance can invent an amazing product or life-saving tool. The question is, what should you do once you create a first-rate invention. Get a patent? Fear not. Follow along as FindLaw provides you with ten tips to think about if you are an inventor.
Tips and Strategies for your Invention
- When brilliance strikes and you come up with a great idea, create a record of invention before going any further with it. The record of invention should be written in ink and should include:
- a clear description of the idea,
- the date,
- your signature, and
- the signatures of two people you trust who have "witnessed and understood" your invention and the dates they sign.
- Build a prototype as soon as you can to transform the idea into a physical object.
- Be discreet. Do not talk about your invention with people who are not bound by a confidentiality agreement.
- Keep good, complete, and accurate written records, including:
- Don't do too much work on your invention until you get a good idea of whether it will sell well.
- A suggested rule of thumb to determine whether your invention will sell well is that the total sales will be at least twenty times the cost of inventing and patenting it.
- Include in your cost calculation the cost of filing fees, hiring a lawyer to help with your patent filing, and the person who prepares the drawings of your creation.
- Assess whether you will be able to get a patent on your invention. Answer the following questions:
- Is your invention novel?
- What is the prior art?
- If you are improving on something that has already been patented, is your invention a new physical feature, a combination of prior separate features, or a new use of a prior feature?
- If you are improving something that has already been patented, is your invention not obvious?
- Does your invention produce a new and unexpected result?
- Does your invention fall into one of the five classes of items that may be patentable? That is, is it a process, machine, an "article of manufacture," "compositions of matter," or a new use of any of those items?
- Do a patent search.
- Keep a file for your invention that contains items and information you and your lawyer will need while you prepare your patent application.
- Start exploring and thinking about how you will market your invention.
- Work with an experienced lawyer who is licensed by the Patent and Trademark Office and does patent work for a living.
Get Help from a Legal Professional
As an inventor, you would likely rather spend your time perfecting your new invention or idea. Leave the legal hassles to a skilled business and commercial law attorney who specializes in patent law. A lawyer in your area can help make sure you file the correct forms and work with the Patent and Trademark office on your behalf.