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.