A patent is a legal document that is granted to the first to file for a patent on a particular invention. It allows them to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention that is described in the patent for a period of twenty years from the date that they first filed the application. So if your invention has potential then the idea to patent an idea should be on your mind.
Patent- The Difference
As I said in the paragraph above a patent is a legal document. A copyright exists as soon as you finish your work of art. Trademarks are similar, they exist as soon you use a symbol or word to represent your services or goods in commerce. However, to get a patent, you need to fill out many forms, do extensive research and, in most cases, hire a lawyer.
For example in writing your patent application you will be including detailed drawings, writing several claims, referring to many patents belonging to other people, and more. Do not get intimated you can learn how to do these things and you can hire people to help.
Patent an Idea - Are you Ready?
Is your invention completely finished? Does it do what is supposed to do? Do you have a working prototype? Have you tested your invention? You must finish your invention before you can - patent your idea - because your patent must be based on what your invention is and modifications after the fact require another patent. Also, with a finished invention in hand you can do a market evaluation.
CLICK HERE for more on patenting an idea
Photo courtesy of Flickr.com; Username: qisur