help, can anyone give me some info on how to pattent and idea

I have a very good idea, I have even made a prototype. but thats where it stops. I made it after two years of it keeping me awake at night so obviously I was suppose to make it. Where do I go from here? PLEASE HELP ME SO I CAN SLEEP ONCE AGAIN!

Your local public library will probably have more info than you can carry on how to apply for a patent, but start here:

Hope this helps.

I know in the UK there’s a society that helps inventors register things. I think it’s run by the guy who invented the wind up radio.

Couldn’t help you with the US though.

Before you spend any money on a patent attorney or patent-assistance service, do your own preliminary patent search (and save yourself a grand or two). Each state is supposed to have at least one library with full patent record resources, and some have two (or more). You might also check with your local universities. In Florida, for instance, the patent libraries are in the capital, Tallahassee [IIRC], and in the big municipal library in downtown Miami. A DIY search won’t ensure the exclusivity – much less technical or commercial viability – of your idea, but it CAN detect an obvious trumping patent.

I’m speaking from experience on this one… Good luck!

Before you do anything I would suggest you find some older threads on this topic. It was generally agreed patents are a waste of time and money. For [url=""example

Are you sure your idea is a fifty million dollar idea? If you were you would not be asking here. Do your homework before you fork out any money.

Ok, here’s a link to a better page: The Case Against Patents. There are links to several articles in that page and the following ones. Especially look at the bottom of that page for #6

Thankyou to all of your responses. I will do more research before I do anything. All of you have been a big help and showed me maybe I am not quite ready to even begin thinking about a patent.

Patents are a means to an end. The end is solving someones problem. The bigger the problem, the more valuable the solution. If your idea is particularly ingenious at solving the problem better, quicker or cheaper than alternatives it’s a great idea. If it’s a great idea, you should consider patenting it. Equally importantly, if it’s a great idea, you should consider building a company around it or inspiring someone else to. An idea is potential energy; if you don’t do something with it, it’s pretty much worthless. Also, ideas are extremely perishable.

The first problem is defining the problem you are solving. Is it big enough that someone will pay for it?

Give us a hint about the space. Is it high tech?

I, for one, think patents are a complete waste of time and money for the average-Joe. Please take my (and sailor’s) advice and go to Don Lancaster’s site. He has many articles on patents, and how it is virtually assured that you will be out much $$ by pursuing one.

hint hint, it would be helpful for older people, and for people who are very busy it is just something that almost everyone uses or has and does not use be cause it is to much of a pain. with my simple changes to an old idea it could make this easier and make older people without the dexdarity to do feel a little more independent. I am a stay at home mom and I am always try to come up with ways to simplify my life, chores, ect… This one thing has haunted me for two years so I made one and well yes it does make thing easier and it does beautify my home. good enough hint?

What was the first patent?

Crochet, I think your chances of selling your idea are slim to nonexistent. It is not any kind of conspiracy to block new ideas, it’s just that that is not the way corporations do business. If you think you have a truly great idea which can make lots of money, I would suggest going into business for yourself. You can have the product manufactured for you and you can sell it on the Net, the real world, or both. Another avenue you can try would be the late night infomercials. In any case, be ready to lose a ton of money and countless hours of your work. If you succeed, be ready to have the product pirated. You need to count on that in your plan. A good idea by itself is nothing, they are a dime a dozen. Making money off it requires a ton more.

I am an engineer and I have a few ideas I’ve developed over the years. Some of them have required quite a bit of engineering or would require further development. Not only do I know I cannot sell them… I know I could not give them away.

The US patent office has a really good site. You can search for these things easily. Searching by number is real easy. Searching by what the patent is about is probably a lot harder.

Writing patents is expensive. Patent lawyers are about the most expensive type of lawyer to hire. At the company I work at it is generally thought that it takes $10,000 to $15,000 to have a patent written by an outside firm. Unless you are lucky that is only the beginning. Despite a few high profile e-commerce patents the patent office does not generally give patents for any old thing. The pto will send you a letter saying that this bit or that bit is not really original and you will have to send something back saying it is and explaining how your bit is different than some prior thing someone else has done. You will need to pay a lawyer to do this for you also.

The main site:

Well, as a patent lawyer, I’m not going to spend a lot of time debating whether patents are a scam (they aren’t) or that you have to have a $50M idea to justify pursuing a patent (you don’t – hiring a patent lawyer will cost you at least $10K for a complex invention, at a nominal 1/2% royalty, you don’t need $50M to get ROI).

There are basically two ways to go here: 1) hire a lawyer; 2) do it yourself.
Benefits of 1) is that you get someone who knows the patent system, can help prepare an application with the best chance of success, and can ensure the legal scope of your patent (the claims) are as broad as possible. The patent lawyer may also be able to do a good search for you to tell you whether you should be filing in the first place. There are many, many, independent inventors who have an unrealistic expectation of the novelty of their idea and/or its potential success in the market. A good search that shows the idea has been done before, and not successful, often will help the inventor rethink the idea. Detriment of 1) is obviously it is going to cost you.
Benefits of 2) is you can save money. Detriment of 2) is that you need to do your homework or you’re potentially screwing yourself out of valuable rights. Best idea for doing it yourself is the following:
a) do a search on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website. The link is above. Search around, using a couple of different search parameters, to see what people have done similar to you. Then order the patents, read them, and see if your idea is original.
b) if you still think the idea is original, order the pamphlet from the USPTO about patents, and get a book like “Patent It Yourself,” which will explain some of the issues you need to think about when pursuing a patent on your own. Be prepared to be frustrated by the process. And be prepared to find out later you messed something up and your patent rights are not sufficient for you to get full return on your idea.