How to Patent an Idea For Free

You may be wondering how to patent an idea for free. You may have an idea, but you don’t have a product or a prototype to show. In this article, you’ll learn how to document your idea, search for existing patents, and file a provisional application or full patent application on behalf of yourself or your co-inventors. While the process of patenting an idea has a cost, there are several steps you should take to protect your idea.


In order to successfully patent an idea, inventors need to document the process of creation. Documenting the process and progress of the idea will not only prove that the inventor has the right to the idea, but will also help the creative process. When documenting the process of invention, inventors should be sure to detail each step and sign each entry. A witness should also sign. When the documentation is complete, inventors can file for a patent.

The documentation should be as detailed as possible, so it should follow scientific standards. Even napkins used to sketch the idea should have dates on them and be photographed. The documentation is important because patents require absolute novelty, and public disclosure compromises the ability to file a future patent. Moreover, it could be copied by other scientists and inventors. The only way to get a patent is to have as much documentation as possible.

Searching for existing patents

Before you decide to try and patent an idea, you should conduct a thorough search for existing patents. Patents are a great source of inspiration for new ideas, but existing ones can also limit your ability to protect your idea. A comprehensive patent search can give you greater confidence in the patentability of the finished product, or even make you realize that your idea is not worth pursuing. A patent search is crucial throughout the innovation process and before you decide to disclose your idea to the public.

Depending on the nature of your invention, you can conduct a preliminary search using web resources. The USPTO website has several basic tools for conducting searches. You can also visit its library to access related materials. Some of the materials are available only in the library, but you can check out some to study further. The USPTO library has a wide variety of patent-related materials. Depending on the information you need, you can also conduct a formal search in a court of law.

In addition to the costs associated with conducting a formal patent search, you need to have a thorough understanding of the claims of prior art. If you don’t find any prior art, you might be denied a patent application. Even if you’re sure that your idea is patent-worthy, you’ll need to conduct an in-depth analysis of the claims of other patents to find any potential conflict.

You can use the USPTO website to conduct a search using keywords related to your invention. This method is quick and does not require highly-specialized search skills. This method works best with technology that doesn’t fit easily into any classification, such as computer hardware, consumer electronics, or medical devices. Unfortunately, keyword searches only cover patents from 1976 and later, so if your invention is more recent, you’ll have to search for it in full text on Google Patents.

Filing a provisional application

When preparing a provisional application, it’s essential to ensure that your invention is unique and new. If there are other similar inventions, filing a provisional patent application will not help you. Hence, you should conduct a patent search, check out the World Intellectual Property Organization website and United States Patent and Trademark Office website, and even do a claims patent search. After these checks, you can proceed to filing your full patent application.

The most important part of filing a provisional patent application is the description of your invention. Include product dimensions, shop drawings, abstracts, schematics, and other relevant details of your invention. Be sure to include all the details, but do not forget to proofread your work carefully for grammatical errors. Finally, make sure to check the content of your notes to ensure that you have not left out any vital information.

A provisional patent application protects your project designs while you do the rest of the paperwork. It will also provide a “patent pending” notice on all materials that reference the idea. To file a provisional application, you need to complete USPTO Form SB-16, a provisional application for patent. You should list the names of inventors, note the name of any contacts, and disclose your ideas.

A provisional application can serve as the basis of a later patent application. It allows the inventor to test the market for a year before deciding whether the invention is commercially viable. It can also reserve the size, design, or impression of the invention. If you are still unsure about the viability of your invention, a provisional application is the way to go. So, file a provisional application as soon as you have the basic idea of it.

Filing a patent application on behalf of yourself or co-inventors

Before filing a patent application, you should be familiar with the process. While filing the patent application on your own is possible, it requires legal and technical expertise. Making even a single mistake can significantly lower the patent value. Hiring a patent attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls and save you a significant amount of money. However, it’s important to remember that hiring a patent attorney comes with a price: even simple patent applications can cost several thousand dollars.

The first step in filing a patent application is to collect the relevant documentation. An inventor must have a notebook to record the details of the invention. This document will prove that the invention was created by you, and it will also provide extra data for your patent application. Always write down your findings in permanent ink, and be thorough in your notes. Make sure to keep the data in chronological order, sequentially numbering pages.

Once you have gathered all of the necessary information, you can file the patent application on behalf of yourself or co-authors. In order to qualify for a patent, your invention must be new and useful. If someone else has already created the product, you can’t file it for it. It’s also important to note that you cannot patent an idea if it’s already available to the public.

If you’re filing the application on behalf of yourself, make sure to include all of the co-inventors who have a proprietary interest in the invention. Otherwise, the Office may publish a notice that you filed the application on your own. Make sure that the people you name on the application are authorized to sign the patent application. If the co-inventors don’t sign the document, they’re not entitled to any of the benefits.

Getting a return on the investment of a patent

One of the most effective methods to measure the value of a patent portfolio is by calculating its Return on Investment (ROI). A business team can compare various strategies and allocate scarce resources accordingly. Facebook’s Head of Patents recently conducted a webinar on calculating the ROI of patent portfolios. In his presentation, he discussed the key components of calculating the value of the company’s greatest asset. Additionally, he discussed the benefits of communicating with the wider business.

The cash flows that are generated by patent portfolios are estimated from net revenues, litigation wins, and related product sales. For these purposes, standard apportionment practices should be applied. To calculate the value of a patent, you must first know what the company’s revenue is. If the revenue comes from more than one product, you can use the patent’s cash flow to estimate its value.

Financial sponsors are able to maximize returns on patent portfolios by leveraging a portfolio of high-quality patents. The patent monetization capital market is limited to a few providers, and investment mandates limit investments to portfolio acquisitions suitable for long-term licensing campaigns. Financial sponsors can increase exposure to this asset class, and utilize specialized advisors. Getting a return on the investment of a patent is a great way to diversify your portfolio.

While a patent gives the owner exclusivity of an idea, it is not always related to its commercial viability. Thus, it is crucial to determine the commercial value of your patented invention to ensure a high profit from your patent investment. As a rule, investing in patents is difficult if you overestimate their value. However, the risks and rewards of an investment are great for the investors, and if you can achieve it, you can get a high return.