Everything starts with an idea. But the end part is yours to tell: How do you make ideas worthwhile?
You’re not alone in the picture. While you are reading this article, there are around 7.5 billion people currently composing ideas from different thinkers across the globe, searching for the wisdom of life.
But here’s the catch: you are here because you’re making your ideas worthwhile. Ideas that are worth spreading and sharing. For instance, you may have an idea about time-traveling through a teleport, running without getting tired, or charging your device using flowing water.
Hilarious, right? These ideas may be keeping you awake. But in reality, they are not patent-eligible.
To make your ideas worthwhile, you have to materialize your inventions. Execute now before it’s too late. This article will help you understand the essence of ideas in intellectual property and how it works in patenting inventions.
Ideas as “Building Blocks” of an Intellectual Property
Everything you’ve created, written, built, or invented is your intellectual property. And by that, the intellectual property encompasses intangible creations of human intellect.
Ideas are the building blocks of an intellectual property, which helps an individual to flesh out what the mind has formulated for a particular purpose.
Directors and screenwriters work together for a film, a songwriter produces an original composition, or an author writes a memoir on his personal experiences about love. Through copyright protection, these artistic expressions or also known as "original works of authorship” are protected against infringers.
Trademarks protect the logos, trademarks, brand names, slogans, marks, and symbols of a business, which prevents unauthorized persons from selling, using, or manufacturing registered marks.
Moreso, intellectual property promotes ideas in the form of inventions, methods of processes. Here is where the patent comes in! It strengthens the reputation and originality of an invention by preserving the methods, formula, or processes.
Hence, ideas may not be tangible, but they form part of an intellectual property.
Why You Can’t Patent an Idea
#1 Inventions are not mere concepts in mind.
Inventions are a byproduct of your earnest labor, hard work, and diligence. You painstakingly crafted methods and processes to achieve it. When you materialized your inventions, it opens doors for different possibilities.
In other words, ideas are only mere concepts in mind. It shows no concrete platform. Thus, it cannot stand alone, even if it serves a specific purpose.
#2 Ideas are not feasible and monetary valuable.
In today’s dynamic market ecosystem, big-time companies always secure the sustainability and efficacy of their investments. In cases where a party franchised or licensed your patented inventions, you'll receive compensation and financial benefits.
Hence, it is hard for you to sell and pitch ideas alone — when it has no solid material or platform offering a specific utility.
Especially in the patent process, you have to disclose the specificity and technicality of your invention for patent purposes. Thus, if you patent an idea, make sure to provide a platform on how it works.
#3 Ideas alone won't prosper in the patent process.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires you to develop a concept of your idea through a product, to define it with enough specifications, and to comply with statutory requirements such as novelty, utility, and non-obviousness.
In this scenario, ideas alone won't prosper in the patent process.
“Ideas and inventions are not the same,” according to J.D. Houvener, a Patent Attorney serving Washington. As a patent expert, he suggests that an invention manifests procedural and technical utility, while an idea stands as a mere concept.
That's why you have to set proper expectations on the terms of your invention and how it presents significance to the patent office.
#4 Ideas are vague.
The framers of the patent law believed that mere concepts are not strong foundations for protecting processes, compositions of matter, articles of manufacture, and a machine.
If that's the case, you can easily infringe others and sue them for infringement.
Thus, the patent law is clear that only novel inventions that have new utility are the only subjects for patent applications.
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To make your ideas worthwhile, you need to protect your intangible assets through copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, or patent protection.
More often, patents received the most misconception. Aside from its complex and tedious process, most people thought about how ideas can be patented.
Time and again, you can't patent an idea, but an invention can be.
What's the difference: invention manifests the procedural and technical utility, while an idea stands as a mere concept.
Indeed, here are the reasons why ideas cannot be patented:
1. Inventions are not mere concepts in mind;
2. Ideas are not feasible and monetary valuable;
3. Ideas alone won't prosper in the patent process; and
4. Ideas are vague.
Steve Jobs said, “Ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just worth a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.” Execute your ideas today!
Alejandro is a freelance writer, who collaborates with aspiring authors and editors for the past 3 years. He is passionate about equality and human rights. He intends to pursue a career in law.