How to turn your idea or invention into Patent

A Patent is a judicial right granted by the government to an inventor. Patent prevents others from using, selling, making, or importing product or processes, related to the patented invention without prior permission from the patent’s owner by providing exclusive rights.

Firstly, one has to do an extensive search on the idea one wants to patent, it can be from in-house R&D, laboratory experiments/trials, databases, research papers/articles, etc.

In search, patents encourage innovation by ensuring that work focuses on new and non-obvious ideas. Patent search can save a researcher’s valuable time and money on applying patent for already known works. To avail patent for an application, it must satisfy three main criteria: Novelty, Inventive step/Non-obviousness and Industrial use or applicability.

So, if one gets a breakthrough idea of an application that is now a real working invention. But there is a risk and fear of being copied. To get ownership of this invention from a potential idea and to protect it from being copied, one can file a patent for their ideas. Once it got patented, it can protect the idea up to 20 years from the filing date.

Patent owner can use it to stop competitors and others from doing things that infringe upon your patent. The patent owner can give license to a third person to use, sell and extract benefits from his patented invention, for an amount already decided as royalty.

If someone breaches the patent, patent owner can potentially sue them for a significant amount of money.

5 steps for turning your invention ideas into a Patent

1. Evaluate the scope of Idea

First, understand your invention. Why it's new and why it's unique. Once you identify your invention to be new and unique then you have to think about whether there are other existing ways to make your invention? List all such possible ways to make your invention work, even if they're not as good as the preferred way. Then think about the other applications that could be possible from the invention, and keep doing further modifications to make sure your invention remains protected, secure and to ensure, you will get maximum benefits from it. It will help you remain strategic and filing more valuable patent.

2. Researching the idea

A patent requires absolute novelty. The idea should be something that is unique and not predictable. So that a patent can help protect the idea. One has to do an extensive search related to relevant publication, presentation, sales brochure, patent application or issued patent that has the potential to overlap with your invention idea or any components of it.

Go through databases such as WIPO or the USPTO website.

Use Google’s patent search option. Do a detailed search using the keywords, phrases, and names of inventors. One can also think about seeking guidance from resource centres dedicated to patents and trademarks. Also, one can attend conferences and read articles related to the interest domain.

3. Make a prototype

Once you are ready with the scope and done with research works the next step is to prepare an Indian patent application (Form 1).

Each patent application has to be compulsorily accompanied by a patent specification (Form 2). One can file a provisional or a complete patent application depending on the status.

It is always suggested to seek qualified assistance from patent professionals, to ensure that your interests are appropriately protected. If the Invention is in the development stage, it is a good idea to quickly file a provisional application to block the all-important filing date. It gives you 12 months to test and to make it ready. Whether filing a provisional or a complete application, extra attention is to be paid to the patent draft included along with the application.

The patent draft is the actual representation in front of the patent office. Based on that the decision on the grant of the patent will be made. An improper draft may lead application not granted. Even if granted won’t be effective to stop competitors. Works with a patent agent who can help to get someone to use his expertise and experience in filing patent applications in your area of technology.

4. Filing a patent

Do not wait too long to file or someone else could grab the idea. It is better to consult the experts than to remain confused. Once the patent application is drafted, the next step is to file the patent application and secure the filing date. If you are filing a provisional application first, then you need to file the complete application within 12 months from the provisional filing date. Further, if you are interested in protecting your invention internationally, the maximum time allowed is 12 months from your first filing date.

You can choose for filing a convention application in Paris convention members individually. Alternatively, you can also use the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system to make yourself secure in 140 odd member countries.

Choose the options based on your interest and use case.

5. Wait for a Formal Response

After filing the application, now you have to wait for the response. If it’s positive you have to pay the fee. If rejected you have to improvise on areas you failed. You can hire the services of an invention promotion firm to assist in the application filing process. The patent lawyer you consult can also give you an idea about which firm is best for you and will help you select the correct firm.

What inventions cannot be patented?

As defined in Section 2 (j) the invention should be novel, where it should not be published in any part of the world. Patent Act's Section 3 and Section 4 deals with the exclusions that are non-patentable. Inventions against natural laws. Inventions which can potentially hurt public moral Medicinal, diagnostic, therapeutic, curative, and prophylactic methods of treatment in humans and animals are non-patentable. Production or propagation-related biological processes of animals and plants are not an invention. Simple computer programs, business, or mathematical solution is not an invention. The mental act is not an invention.

Information presentation is non-patentable. The integrated circuit topography is non-patentable Knowledge related to traditional is not an invention. Inventions related to Atomic-Energy are non -patentable. Inventions that are a discovery of already existing matter in nature. Admixing of mixtures which can lead to aggregation of properties is non- patentable. Just re-arrangement or duplication of devices working in a known way is not an invention. Horticulture/agriculture-related method is non-patentable.