For centuries now, inventors have existed around the world, and created some of the most unique new devices and gadget, in order to sell them and make money, or simply make the life of everyone better. The patent system was introduced to categorize these inventions, and protect them, in order for the original inventor to be recognized as the author of the invention. But what does the patent system give you, and how can you ensure that your next invention will be protected? Here’s some information along with a few tips on how to patent an idea or an invention.
First, it’s important to understand that the patent office, the organization that governs patents, was created to promote innovation. By giving some exclusive rights to the author of an invention, the patent system rewards him or her, both with fame and exclusive monetary rights, which in turn promotes discovery to other inventors as well. The whole system was mostly made up alongside a library, where patents would list inventions, and be easy to access, so that anyone can know who made what. The main benefits is that once an invention is filed as a patent, that means no one else can copy that invention, create it, and sell it. You become the exclusive owner for a number of years, and if anyone else wants to make a similar device, then they need to ask your permission. Now however, the patent system is mostly a way to make money. Every large corporation has thousands of patents, and any time a small innovation is made, a new patent is created, and they license it out to any other company that wants to use it.
So when you invent something, you need to decide whether you will try and patent an invention idea. The criteria for invention submission, is that it must be a new invention, so the first thing you need to do is make sure there is no “prior art”, or examples of people doing what you just did before today. This is crucial and should be investigated correctly before filing a patent, because otherwise, anyone could challenge it and the patent would get invalidated. This investigation of the “prior art” is called a patent search. Also, it used to be that a patent would only be issued for an actual invention, like the wheel, or something tangible. Now, any small advance in technology gets a patent. The mobile phone has thousands of patents, including things like how to recognize a finger swipe on the screen, how the icons are shown, and the number of fingers used to drag things around. Almost nothing is too small to patent, so if you have a great idea, it’s always worth it financially to see if you should patent it.
Overall, many people imagine the patent system as something inventors, or actual creators of new devices would use, but the fact is almost any invention, even if it’s an idea about a small technological concept, could be patented, as long as you can actually create that idea into a working prototype, and it hasn’t been done before. So whether you write software, work with electronics, or build wooden sculptures, there’s always a way to make a invention submission in order to protect your innovation from being stolen.