The first step toward protecting your invention should be preparation of a written description and sketches of the invention.
Completion of the Invention Disclosure form is important to establish and prove a date of conception of your invention. Proof of the date of conception can be very important and may determine who gets the patent for the invention if someone else is conceiving the same invention about the same time as you.
Another way to establish and prove a date of conception of your invention is to prepare and file a provisional patent application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Before disclosing your invention to others in a non-confidential manner, a patent application should be filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so that someone else does not see your invention and file a patent application for it before you do. By first filing a U.S. patent application you will also keep available the option of later filing patent applications for your invention in many foreign countries, an option which would be lost if the U.S. patent application were filed after your invention had been disclosed to others in a non-confidential manner. You can find professional help for your invention as well.
Before your patent is applied for, a thorough patentability search should be conducted in the U.S. and foreign patent records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to determine if your invention is patentable. The most complete patent records in the country are found in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and all searches are performed there. It is very important that the search include foreign as well as U.S. patents. Foreign patents, like U.S. patents, can be used by the Patent Office to deny an U.S. patent to an inventor.
Some searchers advertise very inexpensive searches, but they often provide no opinion on patentability and typically only search U.S. patents. If foreign patents are not searched, important information relating to your invention may be missed.
If the patentability search indicates that your invention should be patentable, patent lawyer can then prepare a patent application that will be promptly filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after you have reviewed and signed it. Once the application is filed, you will have a “patent pending”.
After filing an U.S. patent application for your invention, patent lawyer or a patent agency such as InventHelp can assist you with information about prototypes, production, marketing and financial backing for your invention. Also can assist you in negotiating and preparing license, royalty, marketing and investment agreements.