"Should I Patent My Idea?"

Utility Patents, Design Patents and other forms of IP Protection

If you have an idea you may want to consider protecting it in some way from being copied by others. Intellectual Property or IP is the term given to the creative work of an individual or company. This could be a product idea, invention or design. Patents are one form of IP Protection, but they might not always be the most appropriate route for your project. Here you will find an overview of the key types of design protection and how they fit into the product design process.

Product Utility Patents and Design Patents

patent idea search. Do I need to patent my idea. Intellectual property

Types of IP Protection

Utility Patent

"A U.S. patent gives you, the inventor, the right to 'exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling' an invention or 'importing' it into the U.S." (www.uspto.gov) "A utility patent may cover 'any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof'." (www.uspto.gov)

Patents are generally considered to be the best method of protecting an invention and are recognised globally. Unfortunately, the process to patent an invention idea can be expensive and complex and often require a patent attorney in order to ensure they are described and detailed correctly. It is possible to patent an invention or design yourself and the United States Patent and Trademark Office offers advice to help. Idea Reality can provide the necessary drawings and diagrams in suitable formats for your patent application or file an application for you through our recommended patent attorneys...

design registration drawing

Types of IP Protection

Design Patent

"A design patent may cover 'any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture' " (www.uspto.gov)
Whilst a Design Patent does not give protection to the way your invention works it does protect its form and appearance. "Design patents should be filed when the design is what makes people buy their product or article over a competitor’s product." (www.execedonline.law.columbia.edu). Design Patents timings and costs are lower than the ones of a Utility Uatent, and allowance rates are higher. A Design Patent can be filed on its own, or be paired with a Utility Patent. Whilst a Utility Patent use is filled through written claims, a Design Patent will use drawings of your invention. Idea Reality can help draw up your designs and plans in respect to officially registering your design and patent an invention idea.

The journey to protecting a product idea

Protecting your idea is very important but can also be incredibly expensive and time consuming; with patents typically taking at least 4 years to complete. Therefore it's important to understand the process, timings and cost involved to establish what is the best route for your project.


IP Protection in the Design Process

Prototype, Test and Iterate before Protecting

If you decide securing a patent is the best solution for your invention then prototype design is a crucial stage of the idea to product journey - enabling you to include all necessary details associated with the design within your product patent application.

At this stage - known as prototype development - the design is likely to change, evolve and improve considerably, rendering an early patent application obsolete.

IP Protection in the Design Process

Choosing between a Utility Patent...

The cost of a patent can vary depending on the complexity of the product and the territories you apply for protection within. A patent should be written by a patent attorney and as such is a legal document. It is important that the patent application be strong and well written in order to stand up to any contest in court.

A typical Utility Patent in the US can cost over $10,000 for an initial application, including attorney’s fees, basic filing, searching and examination fees, and will involve extra maintenance fees over the 20-year validity period. Extending the patent to European and worldwide protection will only increases costs further. The whole process can take 4 years.

IP Protection in the Design Process

... or a Design Patent

Design Patents costs are lower than utility patents, mainly due to less details needed in the initial application and higher allowance rates on the first application.

A US Design Patent application can cost between $2,000 - $4,000 and doesn’t require any maintenance fees during its 15-year validity period. The application time is also shorter than the one in utility patents, with design patents usually taking 20 months to be granted. These can be a good alternative in some cases to protect the appearance, form, and shape of your product.

patent drawing product design

IP Protection in the Design Process

Patent Drawings

We work with skilled patent attorneys to ensure your product invention idea is communicated effectively within a utility or design patent application. We provide professional patent drawings and illustrations, tailored to your application to ensure best value and protection.


IP Protection in the Design Process

Product Launching - Be The First To Market

There is a good argument for investing the time, effort and money you would have put into a patent application on getting your product designed, developed, and on the market before anyone else.

Establishing your product or brand as the original and best can often be of greater value than getting a patent.

Once established, the money generated from sales can be used on further developments and product design improvements, enabling the product to be properly patented and funded.

It's important to note that, whilst your product is being sold, any competitors will be unable to patent an idea that is already existing, being sold or has been made public, but you should always ensure you can prove the idea and/or product design was originally yours.


IP Protection in the Design Process

Continuous Innovation...

Once your idea hits the market don’t just sit back. By being the first past the post and constantly developing and innovating can enable you to stay ahead of the curve. Whilst your competitor is figuring out how to compete with your product you can already be developing the next version.

Patent Advice Video:

• What does a product patent cost?

• Is is essential to patent my idea?

• What else can you do to protect a product idea?

• Should I still get a patent search even if not patenting?

Need help protecting your idea?

Idea Reality can help you protecting your idea. Whether you have an existing design you wish to draw up or simply an idea on paper we can put all the information together to get your idea protected. Get in touch to get personalised advice to your project.

In case you didn't know

Here’s some great reasons to work with us…

  • You retain 100% of your idea including new IP we develop for you.
  • All communication is strictly confidential and free NDA forms provided.
  • You control the pace of your project and the route you take.
  • Personal service with your own experienced design manager to guide you.
  • Our service is low cost to suit start-ups, inventors and small businesses.
  • Benefit from our network of professionals across multiple disciplines.
  • Specialists in crowdfunding and other forms of investment & licencing.
  • Benefit from our years of experience and efficient product design service.
  • Explore the options with a FREE consultation and product idea advice.

Idea Reality provides award winning product design, product development, prototyping and 3D CAD services. We specialise in working with clients within the USA, UK and Europe. Offering assistance to individuals, start-ups and established companies, with a product idea requiring development or existing product ranges that need improving.

With a modern efficient service utilising the benefits of online collaboration you can remain comfortable with the pace and breadth of your project. Our goal is to deliver great product ideas to market.

  • New Product Design and Development
  • 3D CAD Design and Drawing
  • Product Prototyping
  • Product Launch Support
  • Manufacture design and support