There are many good reasons to patent an idea, and doing so will make your idea more valuable in the market. For example, if you want to license your product to a manufacturing company a patent will likely be required.
The patent protects your idea, and prevents the manufacturing company from producing the product on their own, and therefore they are induced to pay you ongoing licensing fees.
In the US, the government issues patents that allow individuals to stop other people from selling, producing or utilizing the idea which is covered by the patent within the borders of the United States. It also prevents anyone from importing a product into the US which violates the patent.
Patents for other countries and regions of the world must be applied for and granted by the respective patent granting body within the particular area.
There are several requirements that must be met in order for an idea to be eligible for a patent.
The main standard is that an invention must have unique characteristics that distinguish it from other products on the market and it must not be of an obvious nature. Specifically, you can’t obtain a patent on a supposition, a law of nature, or on printed material.
In order to successfully patent an idea, there are several steps that must be followed. The first step is to conduct a patent search on the idea. This search can be conducted via the US PTO and via other online patent databases.
You are searching for prior art, but if you find that your idea has already been patented you shouldn’t be immediately discouraged. This can indicate that there is already a market for your product which you could capitalize on by making an improved version that is significantly different from the prior art.
Following a preliminary search, it is wise to hire professional searchers to conduct a more in depth search as well.