It is possible to patent a idea on your own and save a lot of money in the process. Filing an electronic patent application on your own without the assistance of a patent attorney can cut out the costly legal fees so you will only have to pay for the application fees that are required. The disadvantage of filing a patent yourself is that you may take longer time than a patent specialist, and you may leave out important requirements to fully protect your idea.
The first step in filing for a patent application online is to download and fill out the patent application. You can select from a Utility Patent application, a Design Patent application or a Plant Patent application. Utility and design patents cover manufactured articles while plant patents cover types of plants which are engineered. You should explain your idea on the application according to guidelines set out in Title 35, Section 112 of the United States Code, and also include illustrations of your idea if these will improve the explanation of it.
Technically speaking, you cannot actually patent ideas but only actual inventions. This means that if you have a great idea for an invention, you will need to implement that idea in the form of a functional object or design which can then be patented. Products, compositions, processes, manufactured articles, machines and other tangible inventions are eligible for patents, while abstract ideas and theories on their own are not. You will need to work hard in order to turn your idea into a product, and if you are successful then you will be able to patent it.
You should do everything possible to keep your idea a secret while you go through this process, since ideas can be easily stolen. If you do want to share your idea with anyone else before filing a patent application and obtaining a priority date, you should have them sign a confidentiality agreement.