Patent and Trademark Office
Do you have an idea to patent?
- Is it an invention?
- What kind of patent do you need?
- What can you do to protect your rights while waiting for your patent?
Let our Office walk you through the patent maze and make it more like a stroll in the park.
Inventors like you — and your ideas — are as American as baseball and apple pie. Ideas are powerful because they lead to inventions. Inventions make daily tasks and products faster, simpler, more attractive, and more profitable. Typical inventions are physical objects, procedures, methods, and products. There are many types of inventions.
For an idea to be termed an invention, you must have an idea and then reduce it to practice. In other words, you must be capable of explaining how the idea will be reproducibly applied in a real world example. For instance, if an inventor conceives of a machine that can instantly transport a person from New York to Los Angeles, he has a great idea! But if the inventor actually knows how to build such a machine, he has a great invention. An idea needs to be more than just abstract to be an invention.
You don’t need to build a model of an invention to make sure that it actually works, only describe how the idea will be embodied or practiced. Most commonly, an inventor writes down an idea and draws pictures or flow charts of how the idea will look or be practiced.
With strict confidentiality, our Office can guide you in determining whether your idea has become an invention.