Turn your idea into a patentable invention

Unfortunately, ideas cannot be patented. To have a patent, you will need to redefine your idea as a technical invention or an industrially applicable method. Do not forget to keep it secret until the application is filed.

What is a patent, and what can be patented?
Patents protect technical inventions. An invention can be, for example, a product, a method or an apparatus. You cannot patent for example artistic creations, mathematical algorithms or models, abstract concepts, plans and theories. 
To be patentable, it is required that the invention is new, industrially applicable and involve an inventive step.

Your invention needs to be worldwide new. You cannot patent something that is already known. If one feature of your invention is new, your whole invention can be considered as new.

Inventive step
The requirement of involving an inventive step relates to the 'obviousness' of the new invention. If it is obvious to a skilled person in the art, it is not patentable. Judgement on inventive step is rather subjective, and it is more difficult to overcome this requirement than novelty.

Industrial applicability
Besides the fact that the invention needs to be industrially applicable, your patent application must also disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art.

Do you need to have a prototype to file a patent application?
Good news: it is not compulsory to build a prototype before filing a patent application. (Unless you are claiming a perpetual motion machine, because that is the only time a prototype is required.) So as long as you are not going to claim a perpetual motion machine all you have to do is describe your invention in writing, through the use of text and illustrations, so that others can understand what you have, how to make the invention and how to use it. You do not need to provide the level of details that would exist in an instruction manual. 

Invention is not enough. Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people.
— Larry Page

Think before you file
Questions, you will need to ask from yourself: 

  • Is your invention new?
    You can just describe your idea in Google search, and see what happens. Also, we are here for you, if you wish to have a professional prior art search. Information from patents can also be very useful in identifying business partners and sources of capital.
  • Have you fully considered the problem?
    Do you understand the problem fully? Does your idea solve the problem? Not every new invention is necessarily better than what is already on the market. Deciding to patent a new technology is a business decision.
  • Will people need and thus pay for your invention?
    To be honest, to obtain a granted patent, it is not a requirement to be actually able to sell the invention in question. However, why would you patent your invention, if it will not generate you income?
    We suggest performing a quick calculation how much the patent application will cost, and how much You can inform about the official fees using our Patent Cost Calculator.
  • Do you have a realistic idea of the value of his invention?
    No one will buy your product or buy licence, if you ask for too much. A patent is worth more than a utility model, and a granted patent is worth more than an application during examination. 

What if your invention does not meet the requirements?
After evaluating your idea, you might think that it is not really patentable. In this case do not forget: there are other ways to protect your solution. 

  • Utility models can be registered in some countries, to protect technical innovations which might not qualify for a patent.
  • Copyright protects creative and artistic works such as literary texts, musical compositions and broadcasts against unauthorised copying.
  • Trademarks can be applied for identifying and protecting brands of products or services.
  • Designs protect the visual appearance and shape of products.

Pintz & Partners