1.Don’t disclose your idea to anyone until you have discussed it with an intellectual property attorney or agent. They will help you assess your approach, when and to whom you may discuss it, and when a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is appropriate.
2. Use the recommended resources in the Patenting Resources and Methodology for Entrepreneurs to evaluate your idea.
3.Consider whether spending the time and money to get a patent is the most profitable and cost-effective method for your idea. Other options to consider are Trade Secrets, Trademarks, and licensing.
4. If money is tight or you are ready to lock in your idea, consider filing a Provisional Patent. Be sure to file your patent application within one year of filing your provisional application.
5. Spend no more than $1,000 to find out if your idea is patentable. This amount should cover our recommendation for professional prior art research on worldwide patenting authorities as well as rudimentary marketing guidance on the financial feasibility of your idea. The side benefit of this approach is that you will likely refine your invention based upon the new information.
6. If Step 5’s results are favorable, proceed with a detailed market study to make sure that you can at least recover your money for pursuing your patent. Depending upon the results of the prior art research and any refinements you make, you may need to pay a little more to refine this research.
7. If Step 6’s results are favorable, file a patent application – using a Patent Agent or Patent Attorney.