What is a Patent and Do I Need to Patent My Invention Idea?

A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, sell, or import an invention for a set period. In other words, it is a legal document that prevents others from capitalizing on your unique idea. The million-dollar question for many inventors and innovators is, “Do I need to patent my invention idea?”.

Understanding Patents

A patent is issued by the government, usually through the national patent office, to protect the inventor’s rights to their invention. This protection lasts for a specific duration, generally 20 years for utility and plant patents and 15 years for design patents, counting from the filing date. After the patent expires, the invention enters the public domain, and anyone can use the idea without seeking permission from the inventor.

Types of Patents

What are the different types of patents? There are three main types of patents:

Utility Patents – These patents are granted for inventions of new and useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, or compositions of matter. A utility patent generally offers the strongest protection for an invention.

Design Patents – These patents protect the unique appearance or design of a manufactured product. It does not cover the functionality or underlying technical aspects of the product, only the ornamental appearance.

Plant Patents – These patents are granted for the discovery and invention of distinct and new plant varieties that are asexually reproduced, such as through grafting or budding.

Factors to Consider in Patenting Your Invention Idea

To determine if you need to patent your invention, consider the following factors:

1. Novelty and Non-obviousness

Your invention must be unique and not obvious for it to qualify for a patent. If it’s an improvement on an existing invention, the improvement must be significant and not apparent to someone skilled in the same field.

2. Commercial Viability

Consider if your invention has significant market potential. Obtaining a patent can be a time-consuming and costly process. Therefore, the commercial benefits of your invention should outweigh the expenses and effort involved in obtaining a patent.

3. Competitive Advantage

A patent ensures that your competitors cannot legally reproduce, sell, or use your invention. If you operate in a highly competitive industry, having a patent can provide you with a competitive edge and secure your market share.

4. Licensing and Investment Opportunities

A patent can be licensed to others, generating a passive income stream for the inventor. But, how do I license my invention idea? To license your patent, you will need to find a company that is interested in using it. You can start by performing a patent search and then contacting potential licensees directly or through an intermediary such as InventHelp invention assistance company.


The decision to patent your invention ultimately depends on various factors, including the uniqueness of your idea, its market potential, and the competitive landscape. If you decide to pursue a patent, it’s essential to consult with a patent attorney or an invention help company, like InventHelp, to guide you through the process and help protect your invention.

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