Is your invention eligible for a patent?

Glenn W. Peterson

If you have been busy in the board room creating an innovative product, you may be anxious to patent your new invention and introduce it to the world. A patent helps to protect your creation by giving you the sole, legal rights to produce, use and sell it. Not all inventions, however, may be eligible to receive a patent, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

When you apply for a patent, the patent office will determine whether your invention meets the required criteria. Not only must your invention be completely new, but it must also be documented in a way that clearly explains how someone else could produce and utilize the product. In addition, no one else could have created the same type of product before.

Before you apply for a patent, you should search to see if your invention has been patented by another party. Not only can you look through a listing of U.S. patents, but you should also conduct a search of international patents to ensure your product is truly one of a kind. Keep in mind that although you may have conducted an extensive search to determine whether your idea is novel, the USPTO will also perform a search prior to approving your application.

The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that there are three types of patents that you can apply for, including design, plant or utility patents. Depending on your idea or product, you may want to apply for a trademark or copyright.

This information should be taken for educational purposes only and should not be used as legal advice.