Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property)

Q: Hello, I am currently a housewife and I have an idea for a cleaning product. I would like to get the idea patented.

I just don't have any idea where to start? I need to get the idea made into something physical that can sell. I also don't want to lose the opportunity to make the idea mine so that someone else can't steal it from me. I have never heard of this kind of product before so I guess I also want to make sure someone else hasn't already tried to make it.

3 Lawyer Answers
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: Good luck on your journey. Eventually you will need to work with a patent attorney if you want to protect your idea.

But it does not hurt to get some general orientation before you reach out to a patent attorney. Knowing some of the lay of the land and vocabulary will make you more confident when you call the patent attorney. I really recommend reading a patent or two in your area of invention so you have some idea what this process is about.

I give talks to entrepreneurs so I have slide sets that help them get oriented. This first slide set helps them understand what a patent is and what other types of intellectual property protection are out there. You may ultimately need more than one type of protection. https://bit.ly/Protecting_Advantages

We are blessed that there are free online tools that allow patent searching. So you can spend some time reading about similar inventions and see how these patent applications traveled through the patent office. https://bit.ly/Patent__Searching

Once you have read some patents and maybe read some Office Action responses, you will be less shocked to learn that this can be a fairly expensive process that can take three years or more. AND there is no guarantee that the money that you spend will lead you to a final outcome of a patent or more importantly a patent with broad enough coverage to protect you from people making a minor change to skirt your patent rights.

Be careful about your choice of patent attorney. There are firms on the internet that seek new inventors like you. These Invention promotion firms have a terrible track record. You are better off calling an attorney that you know and trust and asking that attorney to work through their network to find a patent attorney that works well with entrepreneurs. A safe place to get advice is the network of Small Business Development Centers that are run by the states but use federal funding to help entrepreneurs and young companies. https://americassbdc.org/find-your-sbdc/

A final note -- while it is often easier to work with a nearby patent attorney, the patent attorneys have a federal registration (license) to allow them to help people from anywhere seek patents. So you may be able to work with a good attorney from outside your state.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: Good luck on your journey. Eventually you will need to work with a patent attorney if you want to protect your idea.

But it does not hurt to get some general orientation before you reach out to a patent attorney. Knowing some of the lay of the land and vocabulary will make you more confident when you call the patent attorney. I really recommend reading a patent or two in your area of invention so you have some idea what this process is about.

I give talks to entrepreneurs so I have slide sets that help them get oriented. This first slide set helps them understand what a patent is and what other types of intellectual property protection are out there. You may ultimately need more than one type of protection. https://bit.ly/Protecting_Advantages

We are blessed that there are free online tools that allow patent searching. So you can spend some time reading about similar inventions and see how these patent applications traveled through the patent office. https://bit.ly/Patent__Searching

Once you have read some patents and maybe read some Office Action responses, you will be less shocked to learn that this can be a fairly expensive process that can take three years or more. AND there is no guarantee that the money that you spend will lead you to a final outcome of a patent or more importantly a patent with broad enough coverage to protect you from people making a minor change to skirt your patent rights.

Be careful about your choice of patent attorney. There are firms on the internet that seek new inventors like you. These Invention promotion firms have a terrible track record. You are better off calling an attorney that you know and trust and asking that attorney to work through their network to find a patent attorney that works well with entrepreneurs. A safe place to get advice is the network of Small Business Development Centers that are run by the states but use federal funding to help entrepreneurs and young companies. https://americassbdc.org/find-your-sbdc/

A final note -- while it is often easier to work with a nearby patent attorney, the patent attorneys have a federal registration (license) to allow them to help people from anywhere seek patents. So you may be able to work with a good attorney from outside your state.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Liliana Di Nola-Baron
Liliana Di Nola-Baron
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Washington, DC

A: A good place where to start familiarizing yourself with the patent process and patentability issues is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. Once you are familiar with the process, you may want to contact a patent attorney. Some attorneys offer a first 30 minute free consultation. I am always available if you have any questions.

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