Patents provide inventors, like you, with some important benefits. They encourage people to invent new products and they make it easier for inventors to attract the money necessary to transform their invention into something they can market and sell to consumers.

However, keep in mind that patents can only be granted for new and useful inventions and discoveries related to machines, manufactured articles, processes, compositions of matter, or improvements of any of the listed items. Before delving into the world of patents, there are some things you need to know, like you can't patent an idea, and others. 

1: Consider Hiring A Lawyer

When preparing a patent application, you must describe your invention in considerable detail, which includes how to make and use it. You may also be asked to provide a prototype of your invention. After you file the application and pay the fee, there is a lengthy review process, which can take up to a year to complete. If your patent is granted, you'll have other fees as well. 

You can prepare the patent application yourself, but in most cases it is wise to hire a patent attorney, from a firm like Hamilton IP Law PC, to help you. These helpers aren't cheap, but their knowledge of federal law and the inner workings of the patent office can save you time and give you a better chance at getting your idea patented. 

According to law, only lawyers recognized by the U.S. Patent Office can represent inventors before the Office. There is a registry of these attorneys and agents, and you can purchase the list for a small fee through the Superintendent of Documents at the Government Printing Office. 

2: Be Careful With Whom You Work

There are many companies out there that approach inventors claiming to be an invention marketing company. Check them out carefully. Not all of these companies are reputable, and they will exaggerate the potential of an invention, do a haphazard patent search, and get you a worthless patent. They also do little, if any, marketing. 

You need to look into these businesses carefully, and only work with those who you can trust. 

3: Understand What Your Getting With A Patent

When you get a patent, you are getting time. You get 20 years after your application is filed to develop your idea into something you make money from, while preventing other from doing the same with your invention. Meanwhile, your application information is available to the general public, so that others can use the information to try and develop new inventions on their own. They can make improvements on your invention and try to patent it, but they cannot steal your original invention. 

If someone does violate the patent, the federal government does not help you bring legal action against the other person; you must do that on your own. You have to bring a lawsuit against the other party in the federal district court to collect damages and prevent further infringement on your rights.