How to Patent a Project

By Leslie Truex

After developing a unique project, you want to protect it from being stolen. A patent provides you the sole use of your project for 20 years. However, getting patent can be a long process that all starts with determining whether or not your project is eligible for a patent. Here are some tips to patent your project.

How To Patent Your Project

Verify that your project is qualified for a patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) says, "Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof." Ultimately, your project must be offering something completely new or a completely new way of doing something.

Do a patent search for similar patents. The majority of patents never reach the marketplace, so your project may already have been patented (and is therefore protected) even though the project is not visible on the market. Go to the USPTO website to start the search process. Use keywords that describe what your project does, not by what it's called. In the results you will find patent numbers and classifications of projects similar to yours. Deepen your search by using keywords from patents that are like yours, and classifications in which they may be listed.

If your project qualifies, then file your application. If you choose to use a patent attorney or agent, follow his directions, supplying him all the information he needs. If you apply on your own, you will need to submit the application form (http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/index.jsp), the fee (see USPTO for current fees), the data sheet (about your project), the claims (the attributes of your project to be protected.), a detailed description of the project and drawings.

About the Author

Leslie Truex has been telecommuting and freelancing since 1994. She wrote the "The Work-At-Home Success Bible" and is a career/business and writing instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Truex has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Willamette University and a Master of Social Work from California State University-Sacramento. She has been an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified fitness instructor since 2001.