How To Patent An Idea & Other Patent FAQs.

Software Patents

A patent is a form of idea protection. It allows you to block others from using your idea. For more information, check out our blog post.

Yes, mainly in the US, which enables software to receive broad patent protection.

Patents can act as a defense as well as a tool for litigation. For that reason – and because a large acquirer can use it in litigation, a patent is also valuable property.

20 years from the date of filing for regular patents.

You prepare and file a patent application, and then undergo examination from the relevant government office (United States Patent and Trademark Office in the US). Check our our blog post on exactly this question.

Anything in a patentable category, such as machines, software, drugs, proteins, etc. For a more detailed answer, check out our blog post.

Provisional (lasts for only one year), design (protects the way an object looks) and regular or utility patent.

Not at all! You will need to prepare and file a patent application, which can be done in a matter of days to weeks. There are multiple steps after that, each of which can be performed in a straightforward way. Check out step by step blog post on exactly this question for more detail

Text and/or drawings that describe your idea. The text should also include claims which relate to details of the idea that you want to protect. Check out our blog post for more details.

The Patent Process

You’ll prepare and file a patent application, and then go through examination with the relevant government office (United States Patent and Trademark Office in the US). Check out our blog post on exactly this question.

First we’ll help you do a search to see if you were first to think of the idea. Then, you’ll prepare drawings showing your idea and how it works, as well as text to describe your idea. Check out our blog post for more details.

You’ll file electronically through the US Patent and Trademark Office website.

After you file your patent application, an examiner will review it to be certain that it meets the government standards.

The patent application must meet formal requirements, and the claims must also be considered novel (original) and non-obvious.

Formal Requirements relate to size of the pages, font size, thickness of drawing lines, etc. Check out our blog post for the answer to this question.

Claims relate to details of the idea that you want to protect.

These are terms which describe whether your idea is considered to be truly inventive, or just a “me too”. Only inventive ideas can be patented. Check out our blog post for more details.

You’ll pay a fee for the patent to be issued; after that, you’ll pay small maintenance fees every 3.5 years, until 20 years from the date of filing of the application (after which the patent expires).

As they say, great minds thinks alike! But you’re an entrepreneur. You thrive on having original ideas that no one else has dreamed of. And you want to file a patent, which means you need to be the first one to think of your idea.

Non-Patent Protection

A trademark protects a name, logo or phrase, but not an idea. Check out our video or our detailed post for more details.

With a trademark. Check out our video for more details.

Copyright protects artistic and creative works, including all printed material, the contents of websites, images, video, music and so forth. Check out our video or our blog post for more details.

No, creative works are protected by copyright.

Trademark and copyright are the most common types; both allow you to register for protection, which is helpful for enforcement. Other types of protection include trade secrets, but the process is different.