Inventors can protect their ideas using patents. A patent is a document that gives the inventor the right to stop others from making or selling the invention for a limited period of time.
Patents are issued by governments and last for 20 years from the date of filing in most countries. Patents are regulated by law and can be expensive to obtain and enforce. You can hire a patent agency, such as InventHelp, to help you. Inventors should also consider the usefulness of a patent.
Invention patents are one option for protecting inventions, but there are other forms of intellectual property protection available. For example, you can create a trade secret (a secret method of production) without filing any paperwork with government agencies or paying any fees. The downside is that trade secrets aren’t enforceable against people who independently discover your method of production and aren’t required to keep it confidential as they might be if you filed for an invention patent application.
You can also file for a trademark, which protects your brand name and logo. You may register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but you don’t need to do so in order to protect your rights. You can also file for a copyright on any written materials related to your invention (for example, user manuals). However, trade secrets are also vulnerable to theft and may not be enforceable outside the country where they were created. For example, a trade secret you create in the United States might not be protected if someone steals it and takes it to another country for use there.
While it’s possible to file an invention patent application without a working prototype, it’s not recommended. Even if your invention is only in its conceptual phase, having some form of physical representation can help you flesh out the details of an idea and test whether or not it will work as intended. Consult with professional patenting agency, like Invent Help, to discuss the best way to protect your invention. You can also talk to a patent attorney about what you need to do and how long it will take to obtain a patent.