Can you Patent an Idea?

For those who have great ideas, understanding how to retain the rights to those idea can be complicated. Intellectual property laws dictate patents and protect good ideas from being stolen or copied by others. However, not just any idea can be patented, nor can an idea alone be patented; instead, the idea must be original and unique, accompanied with a detailed description of the idea, plans for implementation, and/or drawings. Here’s a look into the distinction between a raw idea and a patent-worthy one, as well as guide for the process of applying for a patent.

Distinction Between a Raw Idea and a Patent-Worthy One

Not all ideas are patent-worthy. If you have a great idea, you first want to do some comprehensive research to determine whether or not the idea is original and unique, and whether or not anyone else already has an existing patent on it. Also, keep in mind that you cannot patent art or literary works, discoveries, or ways of thinking. You can only patent ideas that can be made or used, are new, and are inventive.


If you determine that your raw idea is indeed original, then the next step is learning as much as you can about the market that your idea is relevant to, and preparing your patent package. As part of this package and application, you will need:

  • Detailed drawings of your idea;
  • A written description of how your idea works;
  • How your idea would be made in bulk (manufactured at large);
  • Costs of manufacturing the idea; and
  • Any other relevant details about your idea and its implementation.

A person who is experienced in intellectual property laws and patent applications should prepare all of the above. Be sure: do not begin the patent process unless you are confident that your idea is original and that you have enough information to pursue a patent. Applying for patent can be expensive; you’ll want to have all documentation necessary before beginning.


Process of Applying for a Patent

If you do decide to apply for a patent, you will file a patent application through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Your patent application must contain four sections: an abstract, claims, description, and drawings. An abstract is a short synopsis of your product; the claims is what you are claiming is novel about your product; the description provides a brief write-up of how your product works; and drawings should be 2D, black and white, and give an accurate representation of your idea/product.

If you think that you have a great idea that should be patented, you should consult with a patent attorney or advisor. An expert in patent law can help you understand how the patent process and application process works, as well as the other types of protection that may be relevant to your idea/business (i.e., trademarks, design rights, etc.).

To learn more about patenting an idea today, reach out to an intellectual property attorney near you now.

This is a guest post by Roisin Byrne, check out the Buiness Boutique for more information.

This article has been provided by Theodore Thomas as part of his cheaper home series.