How to patent something

Updated February 21, 2017

Did you ever think of an idea or create something so unique that you thought about getting it patented? Many people do and suddenly become very wealthy since their creation was useful for many people. A patent gives the inventor complete rights over the idea or product for up to 20 years; during that time, no one else is allowed to use the idea or product without the inventor's permission.

Determine what kind of patent you need. There are three kinds of patents: utility, design, and plant. A utility patent is given when an inventor creates an idea, process, machinery or an object. A design patent is granted when a person invents or discovers something relating to designs for a manufacturer. A plant patent relates to any invention or discovery of a plant.

Do a search for patents. This can be done on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. Look to see if your idea or item has already been patented. If it has been, your application will be rejected.

Once you determine which kind of patent you require, get the appropriate application from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (see resources).

Fill out the application with great detail. Explain what you want patented and why. Give complete details about your invention with photographs or diagrams, how you made it and how it works. Also include your personal information such as name, address, and phone number.

Mail the application along with the £97 fee. Without both parts, the application will not be examined. The process can take from three to eight months for approval.


Be as thorough as possible on the application. Include anything you think may help you to receive the patent.

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About the Author

Laura Hageman has written varied articles on real estate to entertainment topics for the past three years. Hageman wrote a romantic comedy novel entitled Her Desire listed on She has written for Web sites such as CurrentForeclosures and Triond over the course of 7 years. Hageman holds a Bachelor's degree in Arts.