Ideas Are Not Inventions
Ideas are nothing new. For as long as there have been people, there have been ideas on how to improve their lives. From the wheel to the light bulb, these great minds have always come up with ways to make the world a better place for everyone.
However, how do you know if the idea in your mind is worth pursuing? Read on to learn about the thin, fine line that separates an idea and invention and how to protect your idea.
What are Ideas?
Ideas are formulated thoughts or concepts in mind. You can only think, imagine, or speak of them, but they don’t become inventions until they’re developed into a tangible form capable of achieving a particular function. For example, the idea for a new type of car doesn’t become an invention until someone designs and builds it. Likewise, the idea for the new mirror doesn’t become an invention until someone actualizes it.
What are Inventions?
Inventions are unique changes or original creations that are the fruits of intangible ideas. They aim to solve a problem or improve an existing method, device, or process. Inventions can result from years of research and development or just a quick fix for something that infuriates.
If you’re tired of losing your keys, you might invent something to help you keep track of them. Someone else might have the same problem and come up with the same solution. Here, they’ve invented the same thing simultaneously as you!
Invention ideas can also come from observing things around you and thinking about how to improve them. For example, if you notice your cat likes to scratch its claws on objects in your house, you might develop a scratching post that keeps your furniture safe from damage.
What to do with a good idea
First, get to understand if the idea is worth pursuing. If it is, you’ll need to make sure you can keep the idea secret until you file for a patent. If you don’t know how to tell if an invention is patentable or not, then you should contact a patent attorney. They can help you determine whether or not you have an incredible invention worth pursuing. Otherwise, there’s no point in spending time and money on it because someone will steal it if the idea is not patentable.
The next step is to find out if it’s patentable. Then, you can prepare and file a patent application. This process takes time, so it’s essential to start early. The final step is to get your patent issued. Once the Patent Office has approved your application, you’ll receive your patent certificate.
How to Tell if An idea can Be an Invention
Most ideas are just intangible; inchoate thoughts rarely lead to something useful. They’re often little more than a collection of words without any natural substance or context. If you can define your idea in great detail, there may be a good chance it will qualify as an invention. Of course, it’s possible to have an idea for some product or device without being able to describe it in detail because the design hasn’t been fully developed yet. But if you have enough information about your invention to describe it in detail, then chances are good that it qualifies as an invention.
The law treats ideas as property and protects ideas with patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other intellectual property laws. But ideas are not inventions. Their discoverers may be the first to think of them, but they were not the first to invent them. The person who creates an idea is not merely the first to conceive it but must also reduce it to practice by making and using it to distinguish the invention from other discoveries in nature.
The distinction between an idea and an invention is essential because only an inventor can benefit from its protection under patent law. The law does not apply to mere ideas or thoughts about how things might be improved; instead, it applies only to tangible embodiments of those thoughts, such as machines, chemicals, or processes that operate independently without human intervention or control.
Requirements of Patentability
There are three basic requirements for patentability:
Novelty means that the invention must not have been invented before. The invention must be new or novel; that is, there must have been no similar invention before yours was made public (or “published”). The date of publication is usually considered to be the date when the inventor files a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).
Utility means that the invention must be valid and practical. A great idea is the beginning of a business venture, but it’s not an invention. The idea itself is not patentable. It must be developed into a product or service with utility and is economically viable.
Nonobviousness means that the invention cannot be obvious based on what was previously known in the art or field at the time of its creation. To receive a patent on an idea, you must prove that it meets all three criteria above; however, if you fail to meet one or two of these requirements, do not give up hope. Besides patents, there are other avenues for protecting your ideas, such as trade secrets and trademarks.
An inventor will flesh out their concept into a description of how it works and how it can be made from materials at hand or available on short notice from suppliers who stock common parts and components of all machinery and equipment. The inventor will also explain how to use their device after it’s assembled by providing instructions on operating or using it properly.
Inventions and Types of Patents
There are three distinct types of patents: utility, design, and plant.
Utility patents cover inventions or discoveries which have a specific use and benefit to society and require detailed technical specifications. Examples include machines, processes, systems, or compositions of matter. In general, the invention must be new, useful, and non-obvious in order to qualify for patent protection. The application process is long and arduous but well worth it if you want to protect your invention from copycats.
Design patents protect the ornamental design or appearance of an article but not its structure or how it works. An example would be a jewelry design that’s protected by a design patent. The application process is relatively simple compared to utility patents but still requires some technical knowledge on your part.
Plant patents protect plants that have been reproduced through means other than seeds, such as cuttings or grafts. Plant patents are issued only after the applicant has provided a complete description of the plant along with photographs demonstrating its unique characteristics so that anyone can grow it without fear of infringement lawsuits by competitors.
You Can Make Your Idea a Reality!
Ideas can never be inventions unless they are actualized. Follow us to learn more about how to turn your ideas into reality and live the dream you anticipate.